The Federal Election Commission is cracking down on Americans who had hoped to support cartoon characters, animals or serial killers in the presidential election.
"The commission has authorized staff to send verification letters to filers listing fictional characters, obscene language, sexual references, celebrities ... animals, or similarly implausible entries as the name or contact information of the candidate or committee," the agency announced in a Thursday press release.
The move comes after Americans had filed campaign finance paperwork for fake presidential candidates filled with obscene or fictitious references. So far this year, filings have been submitted on behalf of prospective "candidates" that include serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, "Master Alexander Soy Sauce-and-Taters," "Butt Stuff" and "Deez Nuts."
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The FEC announced that staff has been instructed to look at filings with greater scrutiny, and to inform potential violators of civil penalties the commission could impose if they fail to retract their filing. The agency said it also plans to instruct a working group to "devise and recommend" any further actions that should be imposed.
The crackdown could be good news for the Green Party's presidential candidate, Jill Stein. A Tuesday poll released by Public Policy Polling found Stein tied among Texas voters with Harambe, the gorilla fatally shot in a Cincinnati zoo, with each receiving 2 percent of the vote. Deez Nuts held a slight lead with 3 percent.