When direct mail fundraising steals your face
Last summer, the people of Scranton, PA passed several aggressive measures against illegal immigrants. The ordinances imposes fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and denies business permits to companies that employ them.
But now some citizens are starting to ask if the town has gone too far. Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta had to testify last week to defend the ordinance against claims that it is unconstitutional... and now there are questions about the Mayor's role in fundraising for Mountain States Legal Foundation, a Colorado-based group giving free legal advice to the city to defend its illegal immigration ordinance.
Residents recently received a fundraising letter from the Foundation which has been described in detail by the Time Tribune in this article:
The mayor’s face and “Hazleton, Pa.” appear in the return address portion of the envelope. Under his name is this message: “The ACLU is suing my town for adopting a tough anti-illegal immigration law. Your help is needed.”
Inside the envelope, it becomes more clear that this is not a note sent from Hazleton or the mayor. It’s a fundraising effort from Mountain States Legal Foundation, a Colorado-based group giving free legal advice to the city to defend its illegal immigration ordinance. The money raised from the mailing does not go into Hazleton’s coffers, though.
Some of the messages it sends are not statements Mr. Barletta particularly wants to be associated with, he said Friday after reading the mailer for the first time. Among other assertions, the letter predicts the fall of America because of an influx of illegal immigrants, specifically, Mexicans.
So... when asked for his reaction to the letter, he said, “That’s not a statement I would make." He also was quoted as saying, “I have no control over what they do to solicit donations.”
I've heard of stories like this before when someone has a picture used to misappropriate comments to a person who claims they would not say anything like that.
But I didn't hear Berletta's comments actually denouncing the person and group that made the hateful comments within the fundraising package. Unless he denounces the entire package won't donors be left with the impression that Berletta supports the the overall message?