UPDATE 10/30: The Arizona Education Association just issued a press release announcing that it has filed two complaints with the Maricopa County Elections Department regarding these incidents on behalf of their over 32,000 members. This is good news. A good scandal seems to be the only way to get voters to seriously consider a down-ticket race like SPI. Jason William has a good chance of knocking Horne off if he plays the hand he’s been dealt skillfully with the press over the coming week.
UPDATE 10/30: An alert and enterprising reader (aren’t all my readers?) went ahead and looked up the statute restricting campaign activity in the schools. State
Statute §15-511 says: "A person acting on behalf of a school district or
a person who aids another person acting on behalf of a school district
shall not use school district or charter school personnel, equipment,
materials, buildings or other resources for the purpose of influencing
the outcomes of elections." Therefore, Horne has essentially admitted in the public media that he broke the law. What an idiot.
Unfortunately, the penalty for breaking this law is only a civil penalty not to exceed $500 and the value of any misappropriated resources. Still, there may be Clean Elections repercussions for using unapproved resources to campaign.
The Arizona Education Association, the state’s teacher union, filed three complaints Thursday against Republican Horne and a charter school principal. On Oct. 12, Horne sent an e-mail to employees of the Arizona Department of Education that contained an Arizona Republic editorial endorsing him for a second term.
On Oct. 19 and 24, teachers’ union President John Wright attended his son’s concerts at the Arizona School for the Arts, a Phoenix charter school, where he claimed the school principal encouraged the audience to vote for Horne and sign up as campaign volunteers.
Those lists included the names of state education department staff. The complaint alleged that the actions violate state laws that prohibit schools from influencing elections and candidates from using their office to influence an election.
Horne countered that employees receive department wide e-mails every day containing education stories, good or bad, appearing in local newspapers. Horne claimed that state laws prohibiting schools from influencing elections apply to district schools, not charters, and that agency staff volunteered to work polling sites.
So Tom’s defense is that he breaks the law all the time, and that charter school jobs are meant to be sinecures for political cronies. Now we have yet another reason to oppose charter schools and private schools funded by tax payer dollars – the GOP seeks to turn them into political ward halls, just as they have many churches. No institution exists but to serve their ideological agenda, apparently. Their will to power is truly of Nietzschean proportions