Check out Got Conflict? Part-2 LOBBYING for the first part of this story. In the immortal words of Paul Harvey, “And now it’s time for… the rest of the story.”
In a recent article by the Goldwater Institute entitled “Legislation would block school boards from funneling public money to election campaigns” dated Jan 6, 2011, the author, Clint Bolick further supports the notion that public funds are being used for lobbying purposes by explaining the actions of the Arizona School Board Association. In fact, the state legislature is likely to consider a bill (House Bill 2002) sponsored by State Representative John Kavanagh that would prohibit governmental entities from using taxpayer dollars to pay dues to groups that attempt to influence ballot outcomes.
Prior to this article, the Goldwater Institute released an article on Sept 8th, 2010 entitled, “School districts use public money to influence Arizona elections“, also by Clint Bolick. In this article he references from ASBA’s own materials. Here is a snippet from the article he wrote: “It’s not just ballot measures: one of ASBA’s stated goals is to ‘advocate the core beliefs and political agenda as adopted by the membership.’ That translates into a 21-page political agenda that calls for – you guessed it – more spending on public schools.” More on this particular material from ASBA can be accessed at this link ASBA Advocates.
Stay tuned in to the Arizona legislature this next session. The Education folks are getting worked up into quite a tizzy over this particular aspect, especially those with the ASBA who at the recent conference held in December with school administrative officials publically stated, “This means War!!!”. We can only assume that the vast financial resources available to the ASBA from subscription fees paid by over 240 school districts state-wide as well as resources available from other organizations such as the AEA (Arizona Education Association) commonly known as “the teacher’s union”. How vast might these resources be? As cited in the GI article, “ASBA has been directly involved in several recent Arizona elections. The association contributed to the Yes on 100 sales tax campaign and, in June, donated $50,000 to the No on Proposition 302 campaign to oppose a November ballot measure that would end a costly and ineffective early-childhood program.”
Furthermore, the article poses the same question posed here, “Wait, you might ask, isn’t it illegal to spend public funds on ballot measures? Yes it is.”
If you feel it’s wrong to have public funds spent on ballot measures and legislative initiatives, feel free to write your state representatives and encourage them to support House Bill 2002. Click the link to find out who your state representatives are. Your comments are welcomed.