Chesapeake candidate fraudulently uses Tea Party letterhead/email blast as his own?

Bill Haley almost got through his second political campaign unnoticed. He ran for state senate in District 14 two years ago and garnered 6% of the vote. The way his sequel has been going, 2013 might have been his peak.

But three weeks before election day, Haley blasted out an email with this letterhead from the Chesapeake Tea Party.

Looks like the Tea Party endorsed Haley, right?

Problem: The Chesapeake Tea Party never authorized Bill Haley to use their name, images or implied or explicit endorsement.

“We do not endorse Bill Haley or any candidate for state senate nor have I given anybody permission to use our letterhead. Please send out immediately that we do not endorse Bill Haley.

Chairman Chesapeake Tea Party
Dan D.
Daniel J. Dooley”

We at Bearing Drift are happy to convey Mr. Dooley’s message.

At the very least, Mr. Haley should apologize to the Chesapeake Tea Party, to Senator Cosgrove and to the Republican Party for abuse of intellectual property, campaign misrepresentation and fraud if he did so with intent to deceive.

Ethically, I would expect a reasonable candidate to resign. This is serious business. Don Segretti went to prison on convictions of forged campaign literature.

I hope people are looking into this. I’ll post more details as they become available.

UPDATE (Shaun Kenney):  …and we did.  An update from the Chesapeake Bay Tea Party, per Bob Rowland:

>> We recently sent a message from Bill Haley to our Chesapeake contacts.  We admire
>> Bill Haley’s courage to battle ever-increasing taxation and big government, especially
>> when Richmond is voting against the People in so many areas, like the giant,
>> snowballing bureauracy and regulations coming out of the Virginia General Assembly.
>> We encourage John Cosgrove to take advantage of this opportunity as well.
>> [email protected]
>> However, Chesapeake Tea Party does not endorse candidates – we pass on candidates’
>> positions as a courtesy to them and as a convenience to our contacts.
>> We welcome all candidates to express their positions and ask for support.  This has
>> been our tradition since the founding of the tea party movement in Tidewater.
>> We also reserve the right to change our position at any time we decide it would
>> better serve the tea party’s mission.

So there it is.

RTs are not endorsements.  Neither are FWDs?  One would expect something from Mr. Cosgrove sooner rather than later.

UPDATE: (Brian Kirwin) I posted this information to protect the Tea Party, whose intellectual property was in serious question of being compromised.

Two messages were sent, and I read both. One was a campaign email from Mr. Haley embedded in the template of the Chesapeake Tea Party. The other was an email from the Chairman of the Chesapeake Tea Party saying that no one was authorized to use the CTP letterhead. The Chairman asked that the message be conveyed, and I conveyed it.

Apparently, someone else in the CTP sent out Haley’s email in the CTP’s template without the Chairman’s knowledge.

Bottom line: Many people got Haley’s campaign message with Tea Party letterhead and, since there was no disclaimer informing the reader that there was no affiliation or endorsement, many people thought there was. That’s why disclaimers exist, folks.

It also helps when the Chairman knows what emails are going out in his organization’s name.

Now, I do wonder when the CTP decided to specifically inform Sen. Cosgrove that they would forward his emails with Tea Party letterhead anytime he wanted. I can’t answer that, but I’d bet it wasn’t until after they sent Haley’s email.

I am sorry for being one of the many confused people who read the Chesapeake Tea Party’s email today and I apologize for trying to protect the Tea Party. I’ve learned my lesson.

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