Gosar goes after Pope; uses boycott to raise campaign money

An Arizona Congressman is making headlines for a second time this month. The first time was for being the only Congressman to boycott the pope's visit to the Capital, and now he's capturing attention for using his boycott to raise money for his campaign.

Politicians are attacking their opponents in order to raise money is nothing new. But targeting the Pope? Critics of Gosar say he crossed the line.

The whole thing was part of Gosar's latest fundraising pitch.

"Certainly the fire is burning hot right now, and I think they wanted to crank it out quickly," said Marcus Dell'Artino a political strategist.

Gosar's e-mail asks for campaign support in his stand against the Pope, who he says focuses too much on global warming and too little on family values.

In the e-mail, Gosar writes repeatedly, "When a Pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one."

His critics are now up in arms and demanding an apology. "It crosses the line when you take something that is sacred, and you try and raise money to further your political ambition," said Democratic State Rep. Mark Cardenas.

Gosar's letter seeks to raise $25,000 in donations, Gosar's office did not return FOX 10's e-mails or calls for comment.

According to financial disclosure records, Gosar has more than $200,000 in his campaign account. Gosar's district is considered a safe Republican seat by political experts. But political consultants say Gosar is trying to seize a fundraising opportunity as the only member of Congress to have boycotted the Pope.

"There's only one person who has the opportunity to send out this letter, and there are people in America that are more than happy to send him $10 for his boycott of the Pope's speech," said Dell'Artino.

But if the Congressman has his way, he will have the last laugh.

Gosar's critics plan to hold a protest outside of Congressman Gosar's Apache Junction Office at 11 a.m. where they plan to demand an apology.

Gosar released the following statement on Thursday:

"Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer dropped over $400,000 in ad buys throughout Arizona and my district less than 24 hours after my op-ed on the Pope's speech was published. The Arizona Democratic Party sent out two fundraising emails last week using the Pope's speech to attack me. Clearly, Democrats are willing to spend whatever it takes to bring me down because they know I am the only one who has the courage to stand against them. More Conservative leaders must start standing for something or we will fall for everything.

"Furthermore, my career has not been about grabbing headlines, grandstanding or fundraising. Anyone who accuses me of these things simply isn't telling the truth. I was sent to Washington to actively change how the business of legislating is done, not just to talk about it, and that is exactly what I plan to continue fighting for."