Updated 7:00 p.m. ET
A wave of anti-Obama text messages that spammed D.C.-area cell phones Tuesday night appears to be connected to a former Republican Virginia state senate candidate, according to an Internet protocol that traced the sender.
"Pres. Obama is taxing our future. Its time to cut his future as President," one message read. New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman posted another on Twitter:
Txt to my 13-yr-old daughter: "Obama denies protection to babies who survive abortions. Obama is just wrong" from firstname.lastname@example.org-- Jonathan Weisman (@jonathanweisman) October 31, 2012
Hundreds of recipients - other political reporters included - in the 202 area code stormed Twitter and Facebook to complain about the messages, which were sent via email by domains such as email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com.
WHOIS, an Internet protocol that provides the name of any website's owner unless he or she pays for anonymity, on Wednesday showed that voteett.com - suspended for "spam and abuse" - is registered to Jason Flanary and managed by a Centreville, Va., company called ccAdvertising. Flanary is the chief operating officer of ccAdvertising, which according to the company's website provides robo-calls to "commercial, Political, Congressional and non-profit clients." A resident of Fairfax County, Va., Flanary is also a candidate for the state senate.
It is unclear whether Flanary himself is behind these text messages or whether he's aware they're connected to his domain names. CBSNews.com reached out to Flanary via his personal cell phone, and ccAdvertising's main line. Messages left with both were not returned.
The Atlantic points out that whoever is behind these texts is "exploiting a legal loophole" - skirting the illegality of distributing automated, unsolicited texts by sending with an email address - and reports that of roughly 30 messages logged via an informal online survey, all have been from Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia, and most are to registered voters.
Correction: An earlier version story suggested Flanary is currently running for the state senate in Virginia. He actually ran last year and was defeated in the general election.