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Schools chief recall organizer alleges Douglas’ chief acted improperly

Max Goshert is the chief organizer of the recall effort against Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas.

Max Goshert is the chief organizer of the recall effort against Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas.

The chief organizer of a recall against state schools chief Diane Douglas is asking the Attorney General’s Office to investigate whether her chief of staff acted improperly in sending an email about the effort to an independent education group.

The complaint filed Tuesday cites an email sent a week ago by Michael Bradley to the Arizona Alliance of Black School Educators inquiring about a page and picture on its web site of Max Goshert. He is leading the recall against Douglas.

Goshert, in his complaint, said the email was sent out in the middle of a workday; Bradley responded that he was out sick that day.

But the heart of the complaint is Goshert’s contention the email was “intimidating,” designed to ensure the organization would not help with the recall.

“Are you a non-profit allowed to participate in recall elections?” Bradley inquired in the Sept. 1 email.

“If not, then why do you have his recall efforts on your site?” the email continues. “Do you support removing Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas from office?

“It was not intended to be intimidating,” Bradley told Capitol Media Services.

Bradley said he was simply doing Google searches on Goshert when the recall was formally launched last week and found the link to the organization’s web site. He said it contained a photo of Goshert and a reference to the recall, leading him to question Goshert’s connection with the group.

The web page no longer exists.

Goshert said it is a violation of state law for a public official to use his or her influence to affect the outcome of an election.

Bradley said he never identified himself in the email as Douglas’s chief of staff. But he did not dispute that an education group might be aware of his position.

Mia Garcia, a spokesman for Attorney General Mark Brnovich, said her agency will review the complaint and any evidence and decide what action, if any, to take.

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