Congressman Raul Grijalva’s top aide has been identified as the source of a fundraising email that was sent to a Tucson Unified School District teacher at his TUSD email address. The teacher than forwarded the plea for people to attend Grijalva’s rally to his math students.
Reyes, the husband of Tucson City Councilwoman Regina Romero, is listed by the Sunlight Foundation, as a District Director for Raul Grijalva.
Reyes sent the email to TUSD teacher Steve Bracamonte. Bracamonte then sent it out to his 16 year students on behalf of Grijalva.
When the public’s concern about the email came to the attention of Senator Frank Antenori, he sent an inquiry to the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board regarding the use of government resources for the purpose of conducting partisan political activity today.
A.R.S. 15-511, the use of school district resources, which includes provisions:
The attorney general or the county attorney for the county in which an alleged violation of this section occurred may initiate a suit in the superior court in the county in which the school district or charter school is located for the purpose of complying with this section.
For each violation of this section, the court may impose a civil penalty not to exceed five hundred dollars plus any amount of misused funds subtracted from the school district budget against a person who knowingly violates or a person who knowingly aids another person in violating this section. The person determined to be out of compliance with this section shall be responsible for the payment of all penalties and misused funds. School district funds or insurance payments shall not be used to pay these penalties or misused funds. All misused funds collected pursuant to this section shall be returned to the school district or charter school whose funds were misused.
Antenori’s letter read:
Dear Gentlemen and Lady,
Can you please provide me with any information in regard to your policy, if any, within the Tucson Unified School District, that deals with employee use of government resources for the purpose of conducting partisan political activity?
Frank R. Antenori
State Senator, District 30
Antenori followed up four days later, after receiving an unsatisfactory response from the district. He wrote:
I’m aware of the statute (15-511). I was trying to find out if TUSD has a formal policy that informs teachers of the statute and the penalty and how TUSD disposes of the offense. I don’t want to have to request an investigation from the AG’s office if TUSD’s policy adequately allows for disciplining of a teacher and meeting the penalty requirements of the statute.
Do you guys refer to the county attorney as prescribed in section G? (See Below) Do you request the County impose the fine and pass that fine on to the teacher? Does the school district pay the fine then discipline the teacher in some other manner? I would also like to know what the district has done/will do regarding the offending teacher.
Senator Antenori said of the teacher’s email, “It has always been the perception that the left has been exploiting taxpayer dollars to push their agenda and indoctrinate young children, this is just more evidence that it’s not just perception.”
During the last election, Reyes was accused by the Ruth McClung campaign of stealing her signs. The Arizona Daily Star reported that Reyes claimed as a defense, “when he got up that morning, he found a McClung sign as well as an anti-Grijalva sign, from an unidentified group, lying in his yard. He picked them up, put them in his truck and later discarded the signs, Reyes said.”
Reyes told the Star that it was “political operatives trying to gain advantage in the waning days of the election cycle by blowing the situation out of proportion.” According to the Star, when Reyes was asked why he told a McClung supporter that “he was going to put the signs up instead of giving this version of the story, Reyes said it was a spur of the moment comment.”
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