Marshall Tuck’s Financial Support of Convicted Felon Ref Rodriguez

Rodriguez’s misdeeds…made a mockery of the laws governing elections.

- LA Times Editorial Board

State Superintendent of Education candidate Marshall Tuck made his first donation to the Rodriguez campaign during the December 2014, push. However, his $500 donation was dwarfed by the “$21,000 in campaign donations from employees of his charter school network, Partnerships to Uplift Communities” that were also made in December. These donors included “a handful of his workers — a janitor, maintenance worker, tutor — [who donated] at or near the contribution limit [of] $1,100.” The details of these donations were filed with the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission on January 12, 2015. Apparently, the ethical questions surrounding these donations did not draw the attention of Tuck, who made his second donation on February 11, 2015.

KPCC brought these questionable donations to the attention of the public in an article dated February 27, 2015. Rodriguez insisted at the time that “the employee contributions weren’t coerced and will not be reimbursed.” Tuck must have taken him at his word as he made a third donation to the campaign on April 23, 2015. Rodriguez won the election and was eventually made the President of the LAUSD School Board. Two years later the house of cards came crashing down.

On September 13, 2017, Rodriguez was charged with “25 counts of ‘assumed name contribution’” for using his own funds to pay back the donors and a felony charge of perjury. While he stepped down as president, he still held onto his seat, even after being arrested for public intoxication. He eventually pled guilty and vacated his Board seat, leaving his former constituents unrepresented.

To be clear, Candidates can return funds from their donors. In fact, Tuck himself “returned a $5,000 contribution from a major backer of Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative that banned same-sex marriages in California.” However, there is no indication that Tuck’s money was returned after the indictment. Tuck was asked by email if he ever requested a refund or if he regrets his support of Rodriguez, but he did not respond. Like the charter schools he represents, he apparently feels that the public has no right to know how he is operating behind the scenes.


Carl Petersen is a parent and special education advocate, elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a “strong supporter of public schools.” Opinions are his own.

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children.

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