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Adelita Grijalva campaign report shows over-the-limit donation

Dem: Will revise to 'take off a zero!'

A campaign contribution reported by TUSD candidate Adelita Grijalva is more than $1,000 over the legal limit of $2,500. Grijalva, seeking her fourth term on the Governing Board of Tucson's largest school district, filed a finance report on Sept. 25 showing that she accepted a $3,549 in-kind donation of the use of an event venue for a campaign fundraiser.

Candidates for the Tucson Unified School District board are limited to accepting contributions no larger than $2,500 from each donor, because the nonpartisan races do not include a primary election.

Grijalva said Monday that she'll submit a revised report, calling the figure a "typo."

The Democrat will "Take off a zero!, " she said. The correct figure should be $354.90, she said.

A donation reported by Grijalva for a Sept. 4 fundraiser at the Park Avenue Event Center, 242 S. Park Ave., says the in-kind contribution was valued at $3,549.

The donor is listed as the venue's owner, Kelly Abbott. In Grijalva's filing, the contribution is described as "for use of 242 Park Ave Weddings Venue."

"I'll be submitting a revised report with documentation from Ms. Abbott," Grijalva said in an email, saying the donation was "for a one-time use ... for 2.5 hours for a fundraiser."

"No food, beverages or music were provided - just use of the place. It is a beautiful location but $3,500 is steep right?," she wrote. "Thanks for bringing this oversight to my attention."

Under Arizona law, candidates who violate campaign fundraising limits may be fined "three times the value in money for an equivalent of money or other things of value that have been received, expended or promised."

To avoid such a fine, some candidates in the past have been required to repay monetary donations that fall over the limit.

Grijalva was first elected to the Governing Board in 2002, and has served several times as the board's president — including currently. Her campaign filings show she had raised $23,844 for her campaign before Sept. 15, including $2,845 on the date of the fundraiser.

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Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.com

Grijalva at a 2012 TUSD board meeting.

A.R.S. 16-901

Arizona state law on campaign contributions:

In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

5. "Contribution" means any gift, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value made for the purpose of influencing an election including supporting or opposing the recall of a public officer or supporting or opposing the circulation of a petition for a ballot measure, question or proposition or the recall of a public officer and:
(a) Includes all of the following:

(iv) Unless specifically exempted, the provision of goods or services without charge or at a charge that is less than the usual and normal charge for such goods and services. 

(b) Does not include any of the following:

(iii) The use of real or personal property, including a church or community room used on a regular basis by members of a community for noncommercial purposes, that is obtained by an individual in the course of volunteering personal services to any candidate, candidate's committee or political party, and the cost of invitations, food and beverages voluntarily provided by an individual to any candidate, candidate's campaign committee or political party in rendering voluntary personal services on the individual's residential premises or in the church or community room for candidate-related or political party-related activities, to the extent that the cumulative value of the invitations, food and beverages provided by the individual on behalf of any single candidate does not exceed one hundred dollars with respect to any single election.