A Message from Supervisor Ally Miller

 

I know how busy you are and appreciate your input and support.  If you have time available, please plan to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting this Tuesday, October 14th at 9 am.  The meeting takes place on the 1st floor of the Pima County Building located at 130 W. Congress in Downtown Tucson.

I have placed an item on the addendum agenda for the Board to vote on whether to release the County Attorney's opinion to the public in regards to their using their office budget funds to donate to various charities and outside organizations.  Unfortunately, they did not choose to end this practice when I made the motion to implement a policy change at the September 16th meeting. 
To watch what happened on that vote and better understand this subject, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSYVX7Zoy8c 

On Friday, the Goldwater Institute sent a letter to the entire Board demanding they change policy or else they will face legal action for violating the Arizona Constitution.  The full text of the letter is below and I encourage you to share this with your friends and neighbors.  It is unfortunate that no other Supervisor on the Board chose to end this practice when I put it to vote and that they may cost taxpayers more money if Pima County is faced with a lawsuit for not following the law per the Arizona Constitution.  

 

Dear Chairperson Bronson:

It has come to the Goldwater lnstitute's attention that members of the Pima County Board
of Supervisors have gifted portions of their office budgets to nonprofit groups. For instance, Tim Steller recently reported in the Arizona Daily Star that Supervisor Richard Elias unilaterally gifted more than $13,299 of taxpayer funds over the last two years to a single nonprofit group. It is our understanding that this is not an isolated incident but a common practice among many members of the Board.

 

If our understanding is correct, this practice very clearly violates the Arizona
Constitution. Specifically, the Arizona Constitution mandates: "Neither the state, nor any county, city, town, municipality, or other subdivision of the state shall ever give or loan its credit in the aid of: or make any donation or grant, by subsidy or otherwise, to any individual,association, or corporation . . . . " ARIZ. CONST. ART. IX,� 7 (emphasis added). 


 

The Arizona Supreme Court has held that this provision prohibits governments from making public expenditures without receiving adequate consideration in return. Moreover, the Supreme Court has held that " indirect benefits" are not consideration under the Gift Clause. See Turken v.Gordon, 223 Ariz. 342, 349 (20 I 0). 


 

Pima County does not receive adequate consideration, indeed it apparently receives no consideration, when supervisors donate public funds to the charities of their choice. As a result, these office budget gifts are unconstitutional.

 

Under our state Constitution, Arizonans are guaranteed that local special interests will not receive preferential treatment under the law. Taxpayers likewise are guaranteed that public money will be spent only for public purposes and that adequate consideration will be received for the expenditure of any public funds. Supervisors unilaterally gifting taxpayer funds from their individual office budgets contravenes these basic constitutional principles.

 

Moreover, please note that under certain circumstances public officials who make
unlawful expenditures of public funds may be civilly liable for those expenditures. See ARIZ.
REV. STAT.�� 35-154, 35-196 (2012).

 

The Goldwater Institute respectfully requests that the Pima County Board of Supervisors
adopt a policy ending these illegal gifts. lf we do not receive confirmation within the next thirty
days that the Board intends to adopt such a policy, we will avail ourselves of other legal
remedies available to us. We have concurrently submitted a public records request pursuant to
ARIZ. REV. STAT.�� 39-121to39-128, so that we will be able to assess the full extent of the
constitutional violations committed thus far.

 

We appreciate your thoughtful consideration of these matters and look forward to hearing
from you.

 

Sincerely,


Attorney
Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation
at the Goldwater Institute
cc. Barbara La Wall (Pima County Attorney)
Ally Miller (Supervisor District 1)
Ramon Valadez (Supervisor District 2)
Ray Carroll (Supervisor District 4)
Richard Elias (Supervisor District 5)
Robin Brigode (Clerk of the Board)
Arizona Attorney General's Office 

 

 

As always, thank you for allowing me to serve you; if you would like more information or have questions/comments, please contact my office (520) 724-2738 or send me an email at district1@pima.gov.

 

Sincerely,


 

Ally Miller

Supervisor, District 1

Pima County Board of Supervisors 

Supervisor Ally Miller, District 1 | Pima County Board of Supervisors

130 W Congress 11th Floor | Tucson, AZ 85701

p: (520) 724-2738 | e: district1@pima.gov

www.pima.gov/bos/dist1


Copyright � 2013. All Rights Reserved.