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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Campaign site misleads man into donating money against Sink

Web capture of NRCC fundraising site

Alex Leary | Times

Web capture of NRCC fundraising site

3

February

Ray Bellamy said he wanted to make a political contribution to Alex Sink a Google search landed him at "http://contribute.sinkforcongress2014.com."

"It looked legitimate and had a smiling face of Sink and all the trappings of a legitimate site," Bellamy, a doctor from Tallahassee who follows Florida politics, wrote in an email to the Buzz. (Here's Sink's actual site, which uses a similar color scheme.)

What Bellamy overlooked was that the site is designed to raise money against Sink. "I failed to notice the smaller print: Under "Alex Sink Congress" was the sentence 'Make a contribution today to help defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her,' " he said.

"After sending what I thought was a contribution of 250 dollars to Sink, I get a page clearly thanking me for attempting to defeat Democrats, Obama, and Pelosi. The new URL is https://www.nrcc.org/contribute/thank you/ and a photo of Greg Walden, Republican Congressman -Oregon 2nd District."

Walden is head of the National Republican Congressional Committee. The NRCC has set up similar sites for other candidates, according to this NBC News report. And National Journal last year reported on other misleading sites, which experts said could violate election rules.

Asked Monday about the Sink site, an NRCC spokeswoman, Katie Prill, did not address the question. "Ms. Sink doesn't want to be honest about her support of ObamaCare or her awful record as CFO, we are happy to inform voters," she wrote in an email.

Democrats have their own misleading URL: Jollyforcongress.com, though the site is clearly against Sink's Republican rival, David Jolly.

Bellamy wrote Monday afternoon: "I got an email from Eric Cantor this am urging some action related to Pelosi and it had their phone # so I called them. The receptionist Kate, who would not give her last name, and would not transfer me to the Finance Dept., said the NRCC let credit card companies handle such requests. She would not refund my money. My credit card company is mailing me papers to register a complaint or challenge the charge."

UPDATE: The NRCC says Bellamy's donation has been refunded.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 12:31am]

    

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