The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is gaming Google and other search engines, outright using theft to raise money for conservative candidates — including fraudulent websites. What at first look like sites to donate money to a particular Democrat candidate turn out to be sites constructed with the sole purpose of tricking people out of money.
Most of us call that theft. Republicans call that politics.
Campaign Legal Center expert Paul S. Ryan says the websites, targeting supporters of Amanda Renteria (CA), Martha Roberston (NY), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Alex Sink (FL), and John Tierney (MA) all seem to constitute campaign fraud. As reported by Think Progress. According to Ryan, the websites violate a Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulation prohibiting political committees and parties from using the name of a candidate in special projects. The FEC considers websites, including microsites, a special project under this rule.
The only exception is when a website makes it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that it opposes the candidate being named.
It’s hard to tell if the NRCC is targeting women or just Democrats in general, given that all the candidates targeted with the fake websites are women. The NRCC condones such practices, saying they are perfectly legal.
The site set up to milk money out of John Tierney’s supporters, For example, it looks like any other website supporting a candidate, unless you read the small text. At the very bottom of the page is the disclaimer, which is written in off-white text against a pale beige sandy beach. The text is illegible unless the reader highlights to copy the block of text.
Once the donation is submitted, the contributor is re-directed to the NRCC site and a page where they thank you for allowing them to steal your money.
Should you feel you have been conned out of your campaign donation, immediately contact your bank and stop payment. Don’t be ashamed that you didn’t read the fine print. Scammers know you probably won’t and set up traps just like this specifically to fleece people of money.