|Hutchinson speaking to Springdale HS Band members |
Records obtained from the Springdale School District reveal that the school district spent $300 of taxpayer funds for three buses to take 63 Springdale High School band members to Bentonville to play for former Arkansas governor and now private citizen Asa Hutchinson's Presidential bid announcement on April 26th.
Rob Burgess, Hutchinson's campaign manager, was concerned about parking for the buses and wanted to make sure that the band did not leave when Hutchinson was speaking.
Apparently the band was not prepared to play more than a few songs, including the school fight song and national anthem. We are sure that the Springdale fight song being played in Bentonville went over well.
Some parents did not allow their kids to participate.
The school district considered this a "community event" even though it occurred in another city in an adjacent county and was a partisan political campaign event.
Public funds should never be used for a partisan political event.
The Hutchinson campaign did not offer to cover the costs nor did it reimburse the district.
According to sources at the Arkansas Ethics Commission, the expenditure of public funds for a federal office is not a violation of state laws but might well violate federal campaign finance laws as it could be considered an in-kind contribution and would not be permitted under federal laws.