Saturday, August 11, 2007

Kelty Awaits Grand Jury Decision

Fort Wayne GOP mayoral candidate Matt Kelty is awaiting a grand jury decision on the question of whether he broke the law by failing to report $158,000 loaned to him by three campaign supporters. Special Prosecutor Dan Sigler tells the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette's Dionne Waugh a decision will likely be rendered next week. Indiana's campaign finance law is clear that such loans must be reported as a "contribution." However, Kelty's attorney, Jim Bopp, convinced an Allen Co. Election Board controlled by Republicans that Kelty didn't break the law because the loan was first made to Kelty, who in turn loaned it to his campaign, even though there was no question the purpose of the loan was to aid his campaign. Campaign finance experts have likened the transaction to one where a person uses another person to make a contribution to a candidate, a transaction which is also illegal.

A letter of appeal Kelty recently sent to pastors in the Fort Wayne area is raising eyebrows and raising questions about his tendency to mix his Christian faith with his politics. A copy of the letter was posted on Taking Down Words this week and reads as follows:

Dear Pastor,

In these times of relentless assault upon the values we hold dear, it is imperative that those who agree on these values stand together and fight for them. Christians are under attack, and the sad detritus of human casualties litters the cultural landscape. Victory in this battle will require unity. I am Matt Kelty, Republican candidate for mayor. Will you join me as I fight for the families of Fort Wayne?

I applaud the efforts of groups such as the Associated Churches, Fort Wayne Renewal Ministries and the South Bend-Fort Wayne Archdiocese on behalf of our community's families. Thank you for your individual work as salt and light in the Fort Wayne area. Your service is essential to the well-being of our neighborhoods and our city.

Please join me for a continental breakfast 7:00-8:00 a.m. August 8, 2007, at Hail's Guest House, 1313 Washington Center Road, Fort Wayne, IN . . . . . As my campaign advances, I want to hear about your concerns for Fort Wayne--so that we may work together to find real solutions to the problems we face. Please pray for me as I seek God's will for our great city--which is really His city.

In Christ,
Matt Kelty, Republican candidate for Mayor of Fort Wayne
Because of their tax-exempt status, churches and their church leaders are not permitted to use the pulpit to advocate for the election of a particular candidate for public office. The letter seems to implicitly link Kelty's election fate to the well-being of the Christian faith. It's timing is also suspect. The letter went out a week before the grand jury convened to begin its work this past week. The meeting with pastors this week coincided with the opening of the grand jury proceedings. Was Kelty hoping to reach potential grand jurors through their pastors by asking them to pray for him?

While the vast majority of Fort Wayne area residents are no doubt Christian in their religious faith, the letter is strikingly exclusionary to anyone living in Fort Wayne who does not practice the same religious faith. Allen Co. GOP Chairman Steve Shine, who is Jewish, has remained silent since the letter first surfaced this week. The letter is extremely inappropriate and offensive on so many levels to people of all religious faiths, particularly Christians who may not support Kelty's campaign. The Christian faith does not belong to Matt Kelty, and the Fort Wayne mayor's office does not belong to the Christian faith. Somebody in Fort Wayne should show some leadership, step forward and remind Kelty and his supporters of this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the letter was great. Christians need to stand up for what they believe - GO KELTY!