Former Arizona Republican Party spokesman Shane Wikfors had a question on Twitter Wednesday for Alexis Tameron, campaign manager for Democratic Senate candidate Richard Carmona: "When was the last time you had to show papers?"
He went on to ask, "How about when @CarmonaforAZ hired you?"
The tweet was part of a short exchange between the two on Mitt Romney's tax returns, which Wikfors wrote earlier should be released "ONLY after Obama releases his college transcripts!" with the hashtag #showusyourpapers.
It doesn't appear to be a reference to immigration status and Wikfors could not be reached for comment. The phrase "show us your papers" is especially loaded in Arizona after the state passed SB 1070 in 2010, which requires police to ask for documents of people they suspect are unauthorized immigrants in some instances.
Tameron is Hispanic. Carmona campaign spokesman Andy Barr said, "This kind of rhetoric is offensive and has no place in our politics."
Tim Sifert, spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party, said the tweet does not speak for the state GOP, and appeared to be part of a wider use this week of #showusyourpapers to talk about tax returns.
"It could be misinterpreted," Sifert acknowledged. Wikfors is an independent contractor who does work for the party, he said.
Before Wikfors' "show papers" tweet, Tameron asked him via Twitter whether he was "making up for [his] last trip off the island" by using the hashtag, linking to a June 22 Phoenix NewTimes post that called his comments on the Dream Act "shockingly sane."
Wikfors drew attention in June, when he said a female reporter and another woman quoted in a piece were having a "bitch session."