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SAG to Probe Vote Charges

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(BPI) LOS ANGELES-The Screen Actors Guild elections committee is looking into allegations of improper campaigning during the recent SAG election.

Board member Dena Dietrich, who lost the race for national recording secretary, has filed a complaint with the elections committee accusing two guild officers of breaking SAG's campaign rules.

Those rules state that "electioneering on guild premises is strictly prohibited." But Dietrich maintains that Richard Herd-who was elected third vp-and Paul Napier-who was elected to the board-did just that at a SAG seniors meeting Sept. 23, in the James Cagney Room at guild headquarters in Los Angeles.

Dietrich claims that an hour into the seniors meeting, Herd "suddenly said he had to leave, but he wanted everyone to know he was running for one of the vice presidents of the board, and Paul Napier was running for a board seat."

According to Dietrich's complaint, Herd said, "Please vote for us," which was followed by "a lot of cheering and clapping."

Dietrich said that she then asked for "equal time, but no one heard me."

Dietrich alleges that Napier, who was chairing the seniors meeting, "laughed and said something to the effect that Richard (Herd) shouldn't do any electioneering in the building."

Dietrich, however, claims that a few minutes later, "Paul (Napier) said from the chair: A gentleman has come into the room, seated in the back. What is your name, sir? The man in the back row said, William Daniels. Paul said, Thank you, and the meeting went on."

Six weeks later, Daniels would be elected president of the guild, carrying nearly all of his running mates-including Herd and Napier-into office on his coattails.

Dietrich said she "expressed some indignation" when she left the meeting and then decided to "lodge a complaint against both Richard Herd and Paul Napier for willfully violating campaign guidelines."

The SAG election committee will hold a hearing on this and other alleged campaign violations, Dec. 20. No one, however, expects the elections committee to overturn the election results.

Herd said it would be inappropriate to comment on the matter before then but called the allegations "a lot of smoke."

David Robb writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

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