I mentioned Fourth Congressional District candidate David Sanders new website earlier. Its URL is http://www.sandersforcongress.org. I stumbled across something interesting when I typed it incorrectly, accidentally inserting “.com” rather than “.org.”
Normally you get a “page cannot be found” type message when you put in the wrong URL. In this case, I got . . . a redirect to the page of Sanders’ primary challenger Rick Cornstuble.
According to registrar, GoDaddy.com, SandersforCongress.com was registered by Rick Cornstuble on February 20, 2006. Both Cornstuble’s site and the redirected Sanders site appear to have Cornstuble’s son-in-law as a technical contact.
I don’t really have a horse in this primary race, but the domain squatting and redirect tactic seems a little sketchy — more suitable for a hardball contest between the general election candidates rather than between primary opponents who will presumably be expected to get along once the primary is decided.
Slimy. I didn’t feel particularly chummy towards Cornstuble when I met him, but that definitely guides me the other way.
I don’t think these kinds of “hardball” tactics are appropriate in either the general or primary election. It is slimy no matter when or why it is done.
I have obtained an email from a source which I will keep anonymous. The email purports to originate from Sean Kennedy – Cornstuble’s Campaign Manager.
In addition to calling Bill Abbott (Democratic nominee ’02) and other local Democrats “Fringe Loonies”, Mr. Kennedy describes an intense personal desire to wage an intense smear campaign against Dr. David Sanders.
These selected quotes should answer the question of who Cornstuble tapped to defraud the domain name:
“The domain name purchase was entirely my call”
“If you want the inside story on why that page was bought, quite frankly it’s
because I was incredibly pissed off at Sanders for filing at the last second”
“there was a period of about 36 hours when that URL led to
a smear page that I typed up”
How can Cornstuble question Buyer’s ethics when these are the types of folks he associates with?
MASSIVE COVER-UP IN PROGRESS!
Cornstuble has been falling fast because of this issue. He is now on the defense and recently scurried to TAKE DOWN THE REDIRECT. His campaign staff is now denying their involvement in the scheme. Too bad they didn’t unregister the domain name before this website went up.
I think the damage is already done. Democrats I’ve talked to are well aware of it and are not going to endorse these tactics, maybe against Republicans, but not against decent members of their own party.
Question for you Doug – I’ve heard the phrase “Fraud” tossed-around lately in this scandal. We know Cornstuble’s behaviour is sketchy, but is it really illegal?
Tippecanoe Co Resident says
In all fairness-Rick Cornstuble had no knowledge that this was going to happen. The only thing that he can fault Mr Kennedy with is loyalty, youth, and inexperience. If you look at who has the slightest chance to beat Steve Buyer, it is Rick Cornstuble. While Dr Sanders is very intelligent, he is looked on in this community as the perpetual office seeker. Look at Dr Sanders tactics against Steve Buyer and Ronnie Alting-they are more than questionable.
I was out of town last week and received a bit of information about the Cornstuble domain hijacking. I doubt it’s illegal — the domain wasn’t the property of Dr. Sanders. Sometimes in domain squatting cases there are trademark issues, but I doubt that applies in this case. The big problem is that nationally Democrats are going to be taking Republicans to the woodshed over citizen concern about ethics scandals. It’s going to be awfully hard for Cornstuble to take the high road against Rep. Buyer if he or even his campaign is pulling transparently unethical crap like this.
As for whether Mr. Cornstuble knew about this action, obviously I can’t read his mind. Lots of Republicans point to their staffers when they get caught with their hands in the cookie jar and I always cast a skeptical eye in those situations. I have to do the same here. After all, the domain is registered in Mr. Cornstuble’s name — not that of his campaign; it lists his home address and not his campaign address; and — well hell, researching this comment, I see that someone has done a redirect for “corn4congress.org” to this entry. More later.
Tippecanoe Co Resident says
What I find amusing is that David Sanders circulated that email/info himself. No one would have known about the email had David Sanders not sent it around.