Econintersect: Your favorite candidate is smiling at you with an appeal for contributions and all you have to do is push the donate money button and give your credit card info to help him win. But some of these appeals are actually phishing scams not related to the candidate. An article posted by National Journal says that nearly three dozen such sites using Republican candidates' images have been appealing for donations to support reelection bids. The problem? These sites are not connected to the candidates. The perpetrator is the Coalition of Americans for Political Equality (CAPE) PAC, according to National Journal. The phishing operator is an "obscure conservative group" run by "an Arizona activist."
National Journal says that the legitimate Republican campaigns are concerned that candidates may have their campaign funding significantly diminished because of siphoning away of donations they should have received. Some candidates are filing complaints against CAPE PAC.
Another news story indicated that many of the CAPE ersatz websites had disappeared on Monday. It may be no more than problems associated with the attack on GoDaddy.com by Anonymous, the internet hacker, which took down the domain registration and web hosting company's activities Monday.
Here is an excerpt from National Journal about what is going on:
A critical unanswered question is who, if anyone, is profiting from the enterprise. More than $250,000 of the group’s spending—nearly half—has gone to two companies with limited paper trails, neither of which has been hired by any other federal campaign in the last two years, federal records show.
CAPE PAC Chairman Jeff Loyd, a former county GOP chairman in Arizona, declined an interview about the group. He said in an e-mailed statement: “Our candidate websites, videos, and get-out-the-vote messages clearly state who we are and our mission.”
“If a donor inadvertently gives to CAPE PAC and requests a refund, we immediately comply,” Loyd said. “These instances have been few and far between ... [we] are unaware of any issue that remains unresolved.”
- Look-alike Sites Funnel Big Money to Mystery PAC (Shane Goldmacher, National Journal, 10 September 2012)
- Mystery PAC Look-Alike Websites Ads Fade, Sites Disappear Briefly (Shane Goldmacher, National Journal, 10 September 2012)
- GoDaddy Web outage takes out small-business sites (Roger Yu, USA Today, 10 September 2012)