Sen. Jim Dabakis is using emails gathered from his “Save the Tribune” online petition to fundraise for his re-election campaign.
Dabakis has been one of the loudest voices opposing the change in the Joint Operating Agreement between the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, saying it threatens the very existence of the Tribune. Now, it seems Dabakis’ advocacy has an ulterior motive completely unrelated to saving the endangered newspaper.
In April, I wrote a story about how some Utah politicians were raising concerns Dabakis was using the site to build a fundraising list for political purposes. When I asked Dabakis about that, he refused to answer the question and hung up.
Later, Dabakis leveled unfounded allegations against me and UtahPolicy.com.
(A side note – I was contacted by other media outlets about Dabakis’ beef. After a short conversation, they declined to pursue the story.)
Now, we have an idea why his reaction was so harsh.
To test my theory, I “signed” the “Save the Tribune” petition using an email address I created specifically for that purpose. I have not used this email address for any other reason.
On Thursday morning, I received a fundraising plea from Dabakis on this very same email account.
Additionally, when you click the “unsubscribe” link on the email, the URL that pops up is clearly linked to his “Save the Tribune” website.
There is no indication on the Save the Tribune website that emails gathered there will be used for other purposes.
Whatever altruistic motives Dabakis has for preserving the Salt Lake Tribune, it’s clear he’s using information gathered from petition signers to further his own political career.
Dabakis has not responded to a request for comment.