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Few USG candidates spent money on their campaigns, expense reports show

Candidates demonstrate little need for significant expenditures, citing social media and word-of-mouth advertising

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Undergraduate Student Government

The Associated Students of ASU released its annual document with the financial expenditures of each Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate and Professional Student Association candidate who ran for office this spring, revealing the majority of candidates spent no money on their campaigns.

Thirteen candidates out of the total pool of 91 candidates — 44 USG candidates and 47 GPSA candidates — spent money on their campaigns. Executive tickets were counted as one candidate each because only one expense report is submitted per ticket. A total of almost $2,200 was spent on all the campaigns combined.

Candidates are responsible for declaring all campaign-related expenses on the expense forms and the receipts from the expenses. The elections department keeps track of these expense forms.

Candidates must report how, where and from whom they obtained all items. All candidates are required to submit their expense forms no later than 11:59 p.m. the day after the election.

The executive tickets for West, Polytechnic and Downtown Phoenix campuses have a cap of $900 for the amount of money they can spent on their campaign. Tempe executive tickets have a $1,500 limit. Senate candidates are limited to $300.

The top three spenders were the Kalthoff executive ticket for the Tempe campus, Florian A. Schneider, who ran for GPSA president, and Muskaan Gupta, who ran for a W.P. Carey School of Business seat.

The Kalthoff ticket, which ran for executive office on the Tempe campus, spent the majority of the money spent by all candidates, doling out almost$1,210.

According to the expense report, the Kalthoff ticket spent its money on campaign t-shirts, stickers, business cards and a banner.

Andrew Kalthoff won an unopposed race for USG Tempe executive president, along with his running mates Morgann Kelly, the vice president of policy-elect, and Brooke Meier, the vice president of services-elect.

The second highest-spending campaign was Florian A. Schneider, a graduate student studying sustainability. Schneider, who won his race for president of GPSA, spent $200.89 on his campaign.

The expense report stated that Schneider spent his money on a web development service and the purchase of his domain name for a campaign website.

Muskaan Gupta, a sophomore studying business management, lost the race for a USGT W.P. Carey School of Business senate seat. She spent more than any candidate running for the GPSA Assembly or USG Senate, spending $191.35 on her campaign.

The expense report showed that Gupta spent her money on printing costs for posters and color copies.

The other 10 candidates who spent money on their campaigns were as follows:

  • Jamal Brooks-Hawkins, GPSA vice president of external affairs — $166.45
  • Rafael Ortiz III, Barrett, The Honors College Tempe Senator — $144.85
  • Misturah Odesanya, GPSA vice president of internal affairs — $106.95
  • Megan McCaughan, GPSA vice president of internal affairs — $87.61
  • Cecilia Alcantar-Chavez, Polytechnic USG president — $63.99
  • Suli Adeniye, vice president of professional development GPSA — $57.74
  • Melissa Ballesteros, Thunderbird School of Global Management assembly GPSA — $54.53
  • Aletta Oswald Dsouza, GPSA president — $43.25
  • Mayank Swami, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering: School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering assembly GPSA — $42
  • Megan McCaughan, GPSA vice president of internal affairs — $27.56

Evan Lis, a junior student studying geography and journalism and mass communication, ran an unopposed campaign for USG Downtown executive president. Lis gathered 171 votes without spending money on voter outreach, relying mostly on social media, Instagram in particular.

 "We did not spend any money during our campaign. Everything we did, from trying to increase exposure, to all the meetings with different people and organizations I had, were free," Lis said in an email.

Hannah Berryman, a sophomore studying psychology, competed against nine other candidates for a USGT College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Senate seat. She won a seat without spending any money.

“I utilized my personal social media platforms to spread awareness of my campaign, and shared that the election was happening with my constituents and other students I know," Berryman said in an email.

Berryman used her own political instincts and vast social reach to spread her messaging to the public.

"Although only students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences can vote for me, I still reached out to many people to spread awareness about the election, in addition to sharing my own endorsements," Berryman said in an email. "Next year, I plan on continuing with a similar approach of spending no money, and relying on my own outreach and constituents."

Kalthoff, Schneider and Gupta did not immediately respond to requests to comment.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the total number of candidates who submitted expense reports. The story was updated on April 26, 2022, at 11:15 a.m. to correct the error.


Reach the reporter at mhabelt@asu.edu and follow @mhabelt21 on Twitter.

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Mark Habelt Politics Reporter

Mark Habelt covers all-things politics in the ASU and Tempe communities. He can be reached any time at mhabelt@asu.edu. Please refer comments, questions, or story ideas to this email address, as Mark is always interested in discussing local issues. 


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