It appears that Arizona State University may be providing taxpayer funded support to a ballot measure in violation of state law. In conjunction with the far-left National Lawyers Guild, the Sandra Day O’Conner School of Law is hosting a forum on the legal issues of “Dark Money” in Arizona politics.
Normally, giving a platform at ASU for liberal advocates to attack donor privacy wouldn’t be an issue, except that this event is much more than that. The main speaker at the forum is Terry Goddard, the campaign chair for a statewide ballot initiative to require charities and non-profits that engage in electioneering to report their supporters to the government. If that weren’t enough, the event also invites students to “become involved in the petitioning and subsequent legal issues that may arise.”
All of this activity is direct electioneering occurring on a taxpayer funded University campus, being promoted on ASU’s taxpayer funded website.
Defenders of this forum will contend that this is a student event organized by the Lawyers Guild and that ASU is not formally backing the initiative. The problem with this defense is that a direct endorsement is irrelevant, what matters is if taxpayer resources are being illegally used to support or oppose a candidate or ballot measure.
The good news is that the Attorney General’s office has decided to intervene. In a letter sent today to the ASU Law School, the AG has informed the Dean that Arizona law prohibits the use of any “university resources, including the use or expenditure of monies, accounts, credits, facilities, computer hardware or software, webpages, personnel, buildings or any of thing of value for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election.” (emphasis added). It is unclear if ASU responded to the letter or decided to let the event proceed as planned.
Granting space at a University facility and promoting the ballot measure on ASU’s website should not occur. If Mr. Goddard or other supporters of the ballot initiative want to hold a campaign event on campus, they should promote it on their own website and pay out of their own pocket to host the event.
Hopefully Attorney General Brnovich will keep the pressure on ASU and make sure that taxpayers were not forced to illegally support Goddard’s electioneering activities.