Another flap has erupted concerning politics and the email business: A Tennessee Democrat has been accused of using a Catholic charity’s email list without permission for his own benefit.
Christopher Hale, running in the primary in the 4th District of Tennessee, misused the Catholics United Education list and failed to stop when asked, according to a letter sent by James P. Joseph, an attorney with the law firm of Arnold & Porter, to Karl A. Racine, Attorney General of the District of Columbia.
The letter sent in January charges that Hale “misappropriated the Organization’s mailing and email lists and used them for unauthorized fundraising by an entity owned and controlled by him for his own personal, individual gain.”
Hale had previously served as executive director of the Catholics United Education Fund, a now defunct group based in the District of Colombia, the letter notes.
Specifically, Hale is accused of soliciting funds for The Francis Project, another group that was “not a charity registered to solicit funds from the public in the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia and is not recognized by the Internal Revenue Service,” the letter asserts.
In effect, Hale was doing business as the Francis Project, the letter continues.
Joseph states that Hale’s recent fundraising emails contained “numerous pictures, statements, and imagery related to the Catholic Church, the Pope, and St. Francis.”
For instance, an email sent by Hale to donors in January says, “From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Your continuous generosity towards our new group is what sustains us and allows us to grow in our mission to promote Jesus's gospel of peace, justice, and reconciliation throughout American politics. “
An outsider might see nothing wrong with using Catholic terms and imagery, but these were intended to “deceive email recipients into thinking their contributions would be used to support a religious and/or charitable organization related to the Catholic Church,” Joseph writes.
In addition, there were fears that Hale’s actions may cause “irreputable harm to the reputation of the Organization’s former Board of Directors
The story was on broken on Monday by the Murfreesboro Voice.
It is not known what, if any, effect this will have on the primary. Hale is running against Noelle Bivens for the privilege of challenging incumbent Scott DesJarlais, R-Jasper. But someone clearly wanted to make an impact. The primary is today.