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Politics / Issues

Florida GOP Congressional Candidate Has History of Registering Sex-Themed Web Addresses

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Mother Jones magazine is reporting In April, GOP congressional candidate Henry "Trey" Radel III landed in a cyberscandal dubbed "Domain-gate" when it was discovered that his campaign committee had purchased web addresses related to his GOP rivals and created sites slamming them. Radel's outraged opponents accused him of everything from "cybersquatting" to dirty tricks to possible Federal Election Commission violations. Radel—a tea party favorite who has received the endorsement of Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.) to fill the seat he's vacating—defended the move, saying he'd bought the domains because his "campaign believes in things like strategy, planning, and capitalism." And he explained: "I, as a business guy, as an entrepreneur, have bought all sorts of domain names."

And some of those names are not so family friendly.

Domain-gate was just the tip of the web-address-registering iceberg for Radel, a conservative talk show host and onetime Florida newspaper publisher and media relations entrepreneur. Starting in 2005, his now-defunct company, Trey Enterprises, registered a number of sexually charged web addresses, many of them in Spanish, according to historical domain name ownership records.

The risqué domains have all since expired, and it's unclear whether the web addresses ever included any content. Many of them forwarded to another site claimed by Trey Enterprises, www.buscaque.com (which translates to "what you're looking for"). It's possible the domains were registered as part of a domain parking scheme, where placeholder sites are populated with ads and links, for which the domain owner receives a small fee based on click-through rates.

The Naples Daily News reported comments by Radel:

"Because we purchased and sold literally thousands of domain names, I was not aware of every single specific one," Radel said Thursday in a statement. "It is true that some of the people I worked with purchased a few domains that I was unaware of, and did not in any way approve of. When I found out about it, I took immediate steps to make sure our company never placed any content on these domains. "There were never any websites," Radel said. "In fact, we never did anything with them except get rid of them."