A divided Associated Students Legislative Council will ask A. S. Finance Board to reconsider its decision to grant $1,250 to the College Republicans for a lecture they sponsored in early November at its meeting this afternoon.
Finance Board decided to allocate the money for a lecture given by political commentator Ann Coulter early Fall Quarter, before the event took place on Nov. 1. This decision was based on a proposal submitted by the club, pending receipt of a formal requisition for the $1,250, which the College Republicans did not submit until Nov. 29, almost a month after the event.
Because Coulter had already given her lecture, some members of both Finance Board and Leg Council, such as Rep-at-Large Manuel Silva, feel that a debt was incurred and therefore they consider this a retroactive reimbursement, which is not allowed under current Finance Board policies.
“The first time [College Republicans] came to [Finance Board], I voted to give them their money, but now I’m going to vote against it because I believe it was a retroactive reimbursement,” Silva said.
Other members of A.S., such as Off-Campus Rep. Jonathan Kalinski, do not see this situation as a retroactive reimbursement because Coulter has not yet been paid the $1,250 in question. Coulter has received $3,750 of her $5,000 lecture price from the College Republicans’ private funds and another group called the Young Americans.
“It’s not retroactive reimbursement because the word reimbursement means that someone has paid someone and needs to be paid back, and no one has been paid yet,” he said.
Last Monday, Finance Board voted 10-4 to go ahead and give the College Republicans the money. However, Leg Council has final approval of all Finance Board decisions, and some council members questioned the decision at their meeting last Wednesday night.
After an hour of debate, the Council decided to send the issue back to Finance Board. Finance Board Chair Delisha Stanley said the Board can either stand by its original decision or revote.
College Republicans member Lee Gientke said the only reason Leg Council is debating the issue is because of the beliefs the club holds.
“It’s basic partisan politics,” he said. “People are using it as an opportunity to chase the College Republicans.”
Silva disagreed and said it is not a partisan issue because he voted to grant the $1,250 to the College Republicans the first time the club approached Finance Board.
Retroactive reimbursements were discussed last year when a student from the Martial Arts Club turned in late paperwork for a purchase he had already put on his personal credit card. The case eventually went to A.S. Judicial Council, which decided to allow the reimbursement.
“The only reason I addressed [Coulter’s pay] was because of what happened last year and I wanted to be consistent,” Silva said. “You just can’t buy something before you turn in the requisition.”
After Finance Board makes a decision, the issue will once again be brought before Leg Council. Some members of A.S. think the issue may be brought in front of Judicial Council.
Leg Council and Finance Board member Scott McDowell, who previously voted to grant the money to the College Republicans, said he does not expect Finance Board members to change their votes and anticipates that the decision to grant the money will stand.
“I hope it goes to Judicial Council because the laws are so sketchy and we need someone else to solidify [the issue],” he said. “We have to change the legal code and make it more specific.”