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Mon Feb 3, 2014, 05:47 PM

Trick Websites Dupe Democrats Into Donating To Republicans | ThinkProgress

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/02/03/3242381/republicans-trick-voters-donating-democratic-candidates/


The National Republican Congressional Committee has set up a number of websites that look like they could be a Democratic candidate’s campaign page, unless you read the fine print. They may even violate a Federal Election Commission regulation, Campaign Legal Center expert Paul S. Ryan explained to ThinkProgress.

The NRCC has set up these pages for various congressional opponents, including Amanda Renteria (CA), Martha Roberston (NY), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Alex Sink (FL), and John Tierney (MA). Each follow a similar format; they list the candidate’s name “for Congress” to ask for donations:



According to Ryan, the websites appear to violate a Federal Election Commission regulation prohibiting political committees and parties from using a candidate’s name in special projects. The FEC considers websites, including microsites, a special project falling under this rule. The only exception is when the site makes it unambiguously clear it is opposed to the candidate. In Ryan’s opinion, the page set up under Tierney’s name “does not unambiguously show opposition to Tierney.” However, he noted, the FEC is “not a nimble organization” and it can take two years to complete an investigation, well past election day.

Ray Bellamy of Florida says he was tricked by the page and accidentally made a donation to the NRCC. “It looked legitimate and had a smiling face of Sink and all the trappings of a legitimate site,” Bellamy told the Tampa Bay Times. The look-alike page uses the same colors as Florida candidate Alex Sink’s campaign, with the URL sinkrocongress2014.com. Once entering information, the person is redirected to an NRCC thank-you page.

More at link --- but just a little.

18 replies, 1654 views

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Trick Websites Dupe Democrats Into Donating To Republicans | ThinkProgress (Original post)
tosh Feb 2014 OP
Systematic Chaos Feb 2014 #1
winstars Feb 2014 #2
unblock Feb 2014 #4
Beartracks Feb 2014 #13
Gothmog Feb 2014 #3
Gothmog Feb 2014 #5
tosh Feb 2014 #6
lpbk2713 Feb 2014 #8
AllyCat Feb 2014 #7
rafeh1 Feb 2014 #9
Coyotl Feb 2014 #10
Spitfire of ATJ Feb 2014 #11
Gothmog Feb 2014 #12
progree Feb 2014 #14
Gothmog Feb 2014 #15
Gothmog Feb 2014 #16
Gothmog Mar 2014 #17
tosh Mar 2014 #18

Response to tosh (Original post)

Mon Feb 3, 2014, 05:59 PM

1. Not only does this thinkprogress article get the URL totally wrong...

...(should be sinkforcongress2014.com and not sinkrocongress2014.com), but unless you're blind AND have the attention span of a gnat there is no way you can mistake these sites as being for the candidates in question.

As per the graphic in the OP: "Make a Contribution Today to Help Defeat Alex Sink..." well herp a derp a dumb, that must mean they want to ELECT Alex Sink, seeing as how they're clearly asking for money to "Defeat" her!

This is complete piss-poor journalism.

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Response to Systematic Chaos (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 3, 2014, 06:15 PM

2. I agree about the poor writing but ya gotta love these pugs, they are always thinking of

new and different ways to fuck us over. Simply amazing, what scum they are!!!

Great idea, if you have NO MORALS. Fuckers...

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Response to Systematic Chaos (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 3, 2014, 06:45 PM

4. but the site is sink FOR congress 2014.

the deception is largely in the url.

yes, if your attention is called to it of course it's obvious.


but it should be equally obvious that the website was not set up and named simply for people looking to donate to defeat sink. honest opposition websites have things like a big "no!" or one of those circles with a slash through it.

to me it is clear that they were trying to be as tricky as the could while being able to deny it.

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Response to unblock (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 08:57 PM

13. Partisan Republicans regard Democracy as a game. Nothing more.

And the score is measured in dollars.

======================

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Response to tosh (Original post)

Mon Feb 3, 2014, 06:39 PM

3. It is time for some litigation

The Democrats need to sue the heck out of these idiots

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Response to tosh (Original post)

Mon Feb 3, 2014, 08:50 PM

5. Good News, NRCC is going to give back contributions

We need to get the news out that if you gave money to the RNCC due to this false ad, you can get your money back http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/03/republican-website-donations_n_4719196.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

The National Republican Congressional Committee is doubling down on its use of websites that appear to be in support of Democratic House candidates but actually direct money to the Republican campaign effort. However, the NRCC said it would give refunds to donors who were confused or misled and contributed to the organization inadvertently.

The lawyer in me believes that the RNCC is afraid being sued and so gave in quickly.

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 3, 2014, 09:01 PM

6. Wow! That was really fast!

Serious fear!

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 10:10 AM

8. They can "say" they will refund the contribs but doing it is something else.




They could confront the claimants with such a paperwork maze that they will give up in disgust.

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Response to tosh (Original post)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 10:06 AM

7. Slimy and illegal is the name of the game with the Pugs

Wrong website or no. This is part of why I like ActBlue

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Response to tosh (Original post)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 10:14 AM

9. The rackos (right wing wackos) depend on tricking credulous people.

The rackos (right wing wackos) depend on tricking credulous people.
look at the number of rackos spouting on "Obama giving away Alaskan Islands to russia"
Google search
A whole bunch of crazy right wingers use this as email grabber to get the attention of their suckers before asking for money.

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Response to tosh (Original post)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 12:14 PM

10. Charge them with crimes for this.

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Response to tosh (Original post)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 03:10 PM

11. Republicans don't CARE if they violate the law.

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Response to tosh (Original post)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 04:22 PM

12. Juanita Jean is calling out the GOP for this deceptive tactic

http://www.juanitajean.com/2014/02/04/like-deception-is-anything-new-to-the-gop/

Okay, so the Republican Party is trying to fool people into donating to them when the people think they’re donating to Democrats.

Well, alert the damn media. It ain’t like trying to fool people is virgin territory for them. This ain’t no damn pilgrim experience for Republicans.

Republicans are defending a series of websites they established that appear to support Democratic candidates for Congress, but instead direct contributions to the GOP.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said its websites were not confusing, and accused Democrats of crying foul because their candidates were struggling.




They refused refunds until a donor went to the media about it and now they are all like …. oh, not us, we will be delighted to refund money.

However, headlines like this —


— can hardly be classified as “news.” It’s what they do in the normal course of business.

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Response to tosh (Original post)

Wed Feb 5, 2014, 03:45 AM

14. Chrome browser now reports contribute.sinkforcongress2014.com was reported as a phishing site!

Unfortunately my Internet Explorer browser doesn't.

Chrome doesn't report any problems with three of the other URLs I know of ...

Kyrsten Sinema
FAKE Website URL: http://contribute.sinemaforcongress.com/

Ann Kirkpatrick
FAKE Website URL: http://contribute.kirkpatrickforcongress2014.com

Martha Robertson
FAKE Website URL: http://contribute.martha-robertson.com/‎

I've reported on all three of the above to Chrome. But I'm sure it takes more than one person reporting this to move these folks off the dime ... you can report by, in your Chrome browser: Alt Shift I, or Settings -> Tools -> Report and Issue

Oh, there's a couple of others that are reported to have fake websites, but I haven't looked up the URLs yet:

Amanda Renteria (CA), John Tierney (MA) <- a token man at last! 5 women (inluding Alex Sink) and one man reported on in this thread.

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Response to tosh (Original post)

Tue Feb 11, 2014, 06:37 PM

15. These websites are illegal

I found this analysis on why these websites are illegal on Prof. Hasen's electionlaw blog. I think that it is clear that these websites are illegal and the DNC needs to sue the RNCC http://www.acslaw.org/acsblog/do-misleading-campaign-websites-violate-federal-law

By 1992, the FEC came to share Justice Ginsburg’s view and amended its regulations at 11 C.F.R. § 102.14(a) to extend the candidate name prohibition to include not only the official name of the committee, but also “any name under which a committee conducts activities, such as solicitations or other communications, including a special project name or other designation.” The FEC explained that it had “become more concerned about the potential for confusion or abuse when an unauthorized committee uses a candidate’s name in the title of a special fundraising project. A person who receives such a communication may not understand that it is made on behalf the committee rather than the candidate whose name appears in the project’s title.” The Commission further explained that “the potential for confusion is equally great in all types of committee communications,” not merely the official titles.

Of course, notwithstanding the ban on the use of candidate names in the titles of committee communications, committees remain free to “discuss any number of candidates, by name, in the body of the communication.” Additionally, following a 1994 amendment to the FEC’s regulation, noncandidate committees may also use the name of a candidate “in the title of a special project name or other communication”—but only “if the title clearly and unambiguously shows opposition to the named candidate.” Thus, the law is clear: a noncandidate committee may not use the name of a candidate in the committee’s title or in the title of a special project, such as a website, unless the committee opposes that candidate and the title of the website or other communication makes that opposition very clear.

The FEC made clear in a 1995 advisory opinion that the operation of a website constitutes a “special project” for purposes of the candidate name prohibition. Thus, because the NRCC is a noncandidate committee; the new websites are special projects under the law; and the URLs and titles include the names of candidates; the websites clearly fall within the federal law candidate name restrictions, and may only use the name of a candidate in their titles “if the title clearly and unambiguously shows opposition to the named candidate.” But far from doing so, the URLs and titles of these websites contain textbook language indicating support for these candidates—e.g., SinemaForCongress.com. Indeed, the phrases of support used in the website URLs and titles are nearly the same as the examples of express advocacy or support the Supreme Court used in Buckley v. Valeo, such as “Smith for Congress.”

Finally, it is not sufficient, as some have asserted, that a reader who scrutinizes these websites more closely will ultimately recognize that they oppose, rather than support, the candidate named in the title. The FEC regulations make it clear that “the title” must unambiguously indicate such opposition. The regulations thus put the burden on political committees to refrain from creating misleading websites – not on the voting public to sort through intentionally confusing language.

Consequently, these misleading websites violate federal law. The NRCC should take down these websites and the FEC should initiate an enforcement action against the NRCC’s flagrant violations of federal campaign finance law.

If the law cited in this article is correct, the DNC could wait and sue to force these committees to turn over all funds. In any event, the RNCC is going to be facing some litigation for this tactic.

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Response to tosh (Original post)

Mon Feb 17, 2014, 02:49 PM

16. The GOP/NRCC is worried and have changed the donations page for these fraudulent websites

The GOP/NRCC may be getting worried because they are changing the donation page for these fake websites. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/nrcc-fake-websites-corrected

After news outlets reported that a Republican campaign group had set up fake websites for Democratic congressional candidates, the group has fixed the sites to clarify that money donated through them will go to the GOP.

As TPM and other outlets reported, some donors said that they had been duped by the websites, believing they were giving money to the Democratic candidates instead of the National Republican Congressional Campaign, which is working to defeat them.

The sites have innocuous URL's -- johnbarrow2014.com, for example -- and only a close read of the content would reveal that they are critical, not supportive, of the candidate.

But now the donation button on some of the sites re-directs to a page that clearly identifies the NRCC as the recipient of any contributions, CNN reported.

We still need to warn Democrats about this scam but I am glad that the NRCC has changed the donation page. You can view the changed donation page by going to the link (I refused to pose even a screenshot of a NRCC donation page).

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Response to tosh (Original post)

Wed Mar 12, 2014, 03:46 PM

17. CREW is filing an ethics complaint against the Repugs using one of these fake websites

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/12/ethics-complaint-nrcc_n_4950173.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

WASHINGTON -- An ethics watchdog filed a formal request Wednesday for an investigation of National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.), citing his team's use of phony websites.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington -- citing numerous reports of 18 GOP webpages that masqueraded as sites belonging to Democrats -- is asking the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether or not Walden broke federal law or House rules by tricking Democratic supporters into donating to the GOP.

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan thinks he did.

"Rep. Walden and the NRCC have become online scam artists, tricking people out of their campaign donations," Sloan said in a statement. "Rep. Walden's support for such activity violates House ethics rules, and OCE needs to act quickly to protect the House's credibility.”

This is good news. Hopefully, the GOP will stop trying to use these fake websites

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #17)

Wed Mar 12, 2014, 07:59 PM

18. Thank you for posting these follow-ups on this.

Rupugs have no honor.

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