The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

98° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Complaint targets ASA donation supporting Proposition 204

Kevin Brost
Kevin Brost / Arizona Daily Wildcat ASA Intern Will Palmer, 20, speaks to UA students about the importance of voting during the ASA Vote 2012 Kickoff event in Modern Languages 311 on Tuesday.

A complaint filed against a political action committee regarding their acceptance of a campaign contribution may not have grounds for legal action, according to a preliminary review by the Arizona Secretary of State’s office.

The office received a complaint on Thursday from Shawnna Bolick, a 2010 candidate for Arizona’s House District 11 and the wife of Clint Bolick, the Goldwater Institute’s executive vice president of litigation. Despite the relation, Goldwater External Affairs Manager Lucy Caldwell said the organization has no hand in the complaint, which alleges that the Arizona Students’ Association illegally contributed money to the Quality Education and Jobs political committee in support of Proposition 204.

In the complaint, Bolick cited an ASA violation of bylaws as a result of their approval of this contribution. Bolick asked that the office order the committee to return money received from ASA.

“This money belongs to Arizona’s public university students and it may not be used for political purposes without their consent,” Bolick wrote in her complaint. “This is particularly so when a select group of ASA board members and officers wield power to suppress votes in violation of the governing bylaws.”

Bolick mentioned a suppression of votes from ASU directors, which resulted in the ASA director’s breach of “duties of loyalty to the organization and to all public university students across Arizona.”

Although the internal review of the complaint has not yet been completed and a response has not been sent, the preliminary look indicates there might not be a violation of campaign finance law, according to Matt Roberts, the director of communications with the secretary of state’s office.

“We believe that we may not have any jurisdiction over a violation of what they suspect of ASA’s bylaws,” Roberts said. “We would only be concerned that the contribution and/or expenditure would be properly reported on QEJ’s campaign finance report, and, from what I remember, they did report that correctly.”

Some members of the committee have referred to the complaint as “frivolous” and believe it will be dismissed by the secretary of state’s office.

“This is not a campaign finance issue,” said Ann-Eve Pedersen, chair of the Quality Education and Jobs Committee in an email. “It’s an issue related to the Arizona Students’ Association’s bylaws.” Pedersen also wrote that ASA was “well within its legal bounds” when it contributed to the campaign.

Some ASA directors stressed that the organization chooses to support issues based solely off the benefits provided for students.

“We don’t pick things that go under political agendas,” said Jordan King, ASA’s vice chairman of the board of directors and chairman of internal affairs. “If an issue falls under a political agenda we don’t pick it based off that. We pick it based off its usefulness to the students.”

In recent weeks, ASA has been involved in a controversy following the resignation of four ASA directors from Arizona State University. The directors resigned citing opposition of the organization’s student fee spending and their inability to speak out against it. Following the resignations, a Goldwater Institute report questioned the use of a $2 semesterly student fee, some of which ASA used to donate in support of Proposition 204.

King explained that ASA directors would discuss ideas to restructure the organization at the Conference of Arizona Student Leaders this upcoming weekend. As a board, the directors will figure out what needs to be restructured, as well as the timeline of how to implement changes, King said.

“It’s something that’s going to take time, but I think we’re all on the same page right now,” he added. “We all want to see this be a more successful organization than it is, because as much as I’ll argue that it’s a great organization … not having student body presidents in here, it does hurt us.”

More to Discover
Activate Search