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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASUA leaders accused of misconduct

    Two officials from the Associated Students of the University of Arizona have been accused of unfair election practices, including bribery and creating false clubs, by two ASUA candidates.

    According to a memo written by ASUA candidates Jessica Anderson and Brad Wulff, ASUA Executive Vice President David Reece and Appropriations Board Director Blake Rebling offered Anderson and Wulff money and support for their campaigns in return for helping three senatorial candidates. Anderson is an ASUA senator and executive vice presidential candidate and Wulff is an ASUA presidential candidate.

    But James Drnek, ASUA adviser and associate dean of students, said that although Reece and Rebling are ASUA officials, their alleged actions would not violate the ASUA Constitution.

    “”It’s just an ethical thing and there is no rule in the ASUA Constitution that they can’t support other candidates,”” Drnek said. “”Was what they did a good idea? That’s the question.””

    According to the memo, in a meeting Monday, Reece and Rebling also asked if Anderson and Wulff would give jobs in ASUA to Reece and Rebling’s friends in exchange for money, Wulff said.

    Anderson and Wulff said they refused the offer, and they verbally notified ASUA President Erin Hertzog of what they believed were unethical campaign practices.

    Reece said he and Rebling did nothing wrong.

    “”We didn’t do anything to breach the elections code or the constitution,”” Reece said. “”We did nothing that was unethical or fraudulent.””

    Reece and Rebling are not seeking re-election, so there was no Election Codes violation because the code applies only to candidates, said David Martinez III, elections commissioner for ASUA.

    Drnek said that to his knowledge, nothing will happen to Reece or Rebling, but the candidates they were working with may be held accountable, pending an investigation by the elections commission.

    “”Whatever happened, (Reece and Rebling) were not acting as representatives of ASUA, and it’s unfortunate that these situations arise, but we just have to deal with it – it’s just politics,”” Hertzog said.

    Although there was no violation of the ASUA Constitution, senators said they are still concerned because Reece and Rebling’s alleged actions were unethical.

    According to the memo, Reece and Rebling created false clubs to secure funding through club donations.

    Each campus club can donate $100 to ASUA candidates, according to the Elections Code.

    With the money from the false clubs, Reece and Rebling planned to “”commit listserv e-mail endorsements, as well as physical resources”” for Anderson and Wulff and implied going “”beyond budget limits”” for their campaigns, according to the memo.

    Reece and Rebling denied the accusations.

    “”That is completely ridiculous,”” Rebling said. “”Contributions made from clubs must be voted upon, and I never implied going beyond the contribution limit.””

    Reece said although they originally did plan to support Anderson and Wulff, donations would have been within the legal contribution limit.

    Anderson also claims Reece formed clubs in the past for the sole purpose of endorsing candidates.

    Reece said he created one club (which he declined to name), which is not officially recognized by the UA.

    “”We never offered or tried to help in any way that violated the Elections Code, and I’m more disappointed that it got so skewed,”” Rebling said. “”All we wanted to do was join their team, and they had the right to say no and we had the right to ask, and we did.””

    But Anderson said Reece shared the names of about five legitimate clubs that would donate to their campaign, even offering phone numbers of students in the clubs.

    According to the memo, after Reece offered support for Anderson and Wulff, he asked that they promote three senators. He asked that five of his friends “”be looked favorably upon for positions in ASUA”” once Anderson and Wulff were elected.

    The memo was directly forwarded to ASUA officials, including the elections commissioner, executives, senators and advisers, as well as the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

    Anderson and Wulff said their major concern now is to ensure the integrity and ethical standards of ASUA.

    However, Reece said since Anderson and Wulff sent the memo to the media, it shows their ethical standards are flawed, claiming that the pair is looking for publicity.

    But Wulff said the student body should be aware of what ASUA officials are doing.

    “”It was an awareness issue, and because he’s an elected official, the students deserve to know it too,”” Wulff said.

    Hertzog said Anderson and Wulff pursued the situation in a manner that was comfortable for them and protected themselves as candidates.

    “”It was a sensitive situation and they had to do what they felt was right,”” she said.

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