-- Could this be the end of "Deez Nuts"? Federal election officials say they’re cracking down on scores of fake candidates officially running for president this year.
Hundreds of fake names have been submitted to run for president, including what started as a joke by a teenage kid on a small-town Iowa farm. But before long, the independent presidential contender was thrust into national headlines. His name: "Deez Nuts."
Sophomore student Brady Olson, who lives on a corn, soybean and beef cattle farm in Wallingford, Iowa, filed a statement of candidacy form under the name “Deez Nuts” with the Federal Election Commission in late-July.
But now Olson may soon be receiving some mail from election officials. The Federal Election Commission will be sending letters to candidates they believe are “unlawfully false or fictitious.” The candidates must respond in 30 days to verify their information or amend their reports or else the candidate will be removed from the FEC’s website.
“The Commission has authorized staff to send verification letters to filers listing fictional characters, obscene language, sexual references, celebrities (where there is no indication that the named celebrity submitted the filing), animals, or similarly implausible entries as the name or contact information of the candidate or committee,” said a statement released yesterday.
"The FEC totally walked into this," said Brady Olson, the 16-year-old behind the "Deez Nuts" candidacy, in an email interview with ABC News. "One of the main reasons that I ultimately filed was because I found out that they had little staff, resources, or authority, and we are supposed to trust these guys with our elections."
"I have made it public that I have withdrawn from the race, but I do not apologize for what I did," continued the Iowa teenager, who starts school on Wednesday. "The FEC is vastly underfunded, and while it seems like I have a burning hatred of the FEC, I actually support the FEC getting additional funding."
A total of 1,850 candidates have submitted paperwork to run for president this year -– more than the last two decades of presidential races combined and more than four times as many as the 2012 election cycle, according to an ABC News analysis of FEC data.
The bottom of the FEC form warns that “submission of false, erroneous or incomplete information” may result in a penalty.
Almost 500 candidates filed forms in just the second two weeks of August 2015 -– when "Deez Nuts" and other prank candidates were making national headlines.