A Republican congressional candidate in Southwest Florida is questioning what he calls an opponent's "creepy" purchase of personal Internet domain names.
"It's a little stalker-ish," Chauncey Goss said of the "Friends of Trey Radel," who bought the rights to chaunceygoss.com, chaunceygoss.net and chaunceygoss.org.
Adding to the intrigue, the site names were obtained in March and April of 2011 -- 11 months before Radel announced his candidacy for the 19th Congressional District.
"They were either purchased by a private citizen -- which is creepy -- or by a candidate, in which case they were not going by the rules of the Federal Election Commission," Goss asserted.
A search of FEC reports by Sunshine State News did not turn up any filings by the Friends of Trey Radel.
Radel, who launched his campaign website months before officially entering the congressional contest in February, stayed on the air with his radio talk show until January.
Radel was not available, but Matt Pusateri, of Friends of Trey Radel, said, "We didn't launch our campaign until this quarter. FEC public information will be available in the coming weeks."
Calling the Friends of Trey Radel "a cutting edge, conservative Republican campaign," Pusateri said Radel's operation owns "dozens of domain names, commonly called 'dot-coms.'
"For years, the Democrat Party has owned the Internet. Not anymore. In fact, our campaign is changing the face of Republican politics in Florida today," he said.
Pusateri said his group is building "a massive grassroots team online and on the ground."
"Our campaign is raising significant money online through social networking. At the end of last quarter, the campaign launched a so-called 'money bomb,' made popular by people like Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Ron Paul. Our goal was to raise $10,000, $10 at a time, in 10 days. We hit the goal in just eight days," Pusateri said
While saying it is "disconcerting that someone bought my name," Goss said the purchase "doesn't hamper us at all."
"I wouldn't ask people to type in chaunceygoss.com because I can't even spell it," he says with a laugh. His campaign site is gossforcongress.com.
Goss, son of former Congressman Porter Goss, mused that in the wide open world of the Internet, "Anybody can buy anything."
"It's odd, but it's not illegal," he said of the purchase of his full domain name. "It really comes down to a question of character for any candidate."
Everett Wilkinson, a South Florida-based tea party leader who has launched several political websites, said purchasing domain names of political opponents "has become very commonplace."
He added, however, "You must have good faith and legitimate interests when you purchase the domain."
Domain names can be locked up for $10-$20 apiece annually. After their initial purchases last spring, the "chaunceygoss" buys were updated March 21, Internet records show.
Other GOP candidates in the race to succeed Rep. Connie Mack, R-Naples, are Gary Aubuchon, Tammy Hall, Paige Kreegel and Joe Davidow.
Contact Kenric Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 801-5341.