Republicans Creating Scam Sites to Literally Steal Democrats’ Donations
There are some shady dealing in politics but a new string of scam websites created by Republican operatives may just take the cake. According to CNN, operatives from the National Republican Congressional Committee are regularly creating chameleon websites designed to look exactly like Democratic opponents’ campaign sites to trick visitors into donating money to Republican candidates.
Among countless sites just like it, Florida doctor Ray Bellamy stumbled across what he thought was a campaign website for Democratic Congressional candidate Alex Sink. Having clicked one of the top results in Google, Bellamy landed on a site that looked exactly like Sink’s actual campaign site, featuring a picture of the smiling candidate and the same color scheme as the campaign. Bellamy donated $250 to the campaign, only to find out that his money actually went to Republican David Jolly after he was taken to the NRCC’s contribution thank you page.
Though the websites do feature fine print, like “Make a contribution today to help defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her,” the font is tiny and very overshadowed by a big prominent Donate button. Designed to look exactly like the pages of the candidates the NRCC is trying to defeat, this ploy is nothing but a scam to lure donations from unsuspecting Democratic contributors.
One such case is currently being reviewed by the Federal Election Commission. The FEC is currently considering whether an NRCC website, domenic-recchia.com, designed to look exactly like Democrat Domenic Recchia’s campaign website, right down to the smiling candidate and a big banner that says “Domenic Recchia for Congress”, violated federal election laws.
Former General Counsel of the FEC Larry Noble says “Part of their attempt is to sow confusion and draw people there who would be looking for the candidate’s website. The FEC rules exist, he said, to try to avoid such voter confusion. All the candidate has is their name.”
Andrea Bozek, a spokesperson for the NRCC, defended the sites, saying “The real reason Democrats are whining about these websites is because the web traffic has been off the charts and as a result voters are learning the truth about their candidates’ disastrous records. Not only are these sites extremely effective but they are l00 percent legal—it’s no surprise that Democrats are running scared.”