LETTER: Eckert ‘attempted to deceive voters’ – The Daily News of Newburyport

To the editor:

On July 20, The Daily News reported that Christina Eckert, candidate for state representative in the 2nd Essex District, was hosting a fundraising event to benefit her political aspirations with a well-known local public servant as the guest speaker. The speaker was Dr. Justin Bartholomew, superintendent of the Pentucket Regional School District. The event was canceled only after Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance filed a complaint with the State Ethics Commission and good government advocates raised similar concerns. To RSVP to the event, you had to sign up on Christina Eckerts campaign website and make a political contribution.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance obtained copies of email correspondence between Christina Eckert, her campaign, and Dr. Bartholomew. The superintendent was first invited to the Eckert fundraiser on June 19. The first sentence of the email invitation reads, I am planning to host a zoom house party for my friend Christina Eckert who is running for State Rep for the 2nd Essex and I would like to invite you to be our main speaker. It only took the first sentence before Christina Eckert and her campaign violated state campaign finance law and possibly state ethics laws. All state and local government employees, like Superintendent Bartholomew, are expressly prohibited from taking part in fundraising activities or using their offices for political purposes.

Ms. Eckerts campaign attempted to deceive voters into thinking this campaign event was a nonpartisan community event in order to bolster Ms. Eckerts political aspirations. Dr. Bartholomew should not face any backlash, as he was being used by Christina Eckert

According to additional emails obtained by Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, on July 20, two days before the event was scheduled to take place, Dr. Bartholomew sent an email to Christina Eckert raising his concerns about the event. He said the superintendent cannot be put in a position of supporting a political candidate in any matter. He went on to say, a political fundraiser is just not an appropriate venue. If I had known that this was the way to register for the event, I could not have agreed to do the forum. Ms. Eckert response is worth highlighting. She claimed to remove the RSVP with a request for a donation but still pressed Dr. Bartholomew to keep the event scheduled.

Ms. Eckert is seeking the position in which she would have a tremendous amount of influence over school funding and Dr. Bartholomew would be the official requesting the funds. She put him in an impossible position. That should concern voters. This isnt the first time ethics were violated in state politics, but rarely does it happen so transparently.

Paul Diego Craney

North Andover

The letter-writer isthe spokesperson for Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.

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LETTER: Eckert 'attempted to deceive voters' - The Daily News of Newburyport

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