Go to janecorwin.com, and you'll find the official site of Jane Corwin, a Republican seeking the New York congressional seat vacated by Republican Chris Lee, who in the wake of revelations he had sent a shirtless photograph to a woman he met over craigslist.
But go to janecorwin.org, and you'll find something that looks like Corwin's site but is actually quite different. It includes lines like "protecting the status quo & taking your tax dollars" and a fake press release claiming " Corwin Outlines Comprehensive Pandering Strategy."
"Jane Corwin, successful daughter of rich people and candidate for New York's 26th Congressional District, today outlined a comprehensive pandering strategy to say she'll decrease gas prices because that's what our polling research said people want to hear," the fake press release begins.
A pop-up box designed to look like a traditional email address or donation solicitation encourages people to hand over their Social Security number. "Together we can make delicious soup from the bones of the poor," it reads.
A search revealed that the site was registered to Ian Murphy, the Buffalo Beast editor who fooled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker earlier this year by posing as conservative financier David Koch during a phone call. Murphy then released a recording of the call to the public.
Asked why he had created the fake website, Murphy said, "We thought Jean deserved a more honest website."
He told Hotsheet he was "very" surprised the domain name was available, and claimed that it had gotten 40,000 hits in three days. He said the site, which he created with colleague Allan Uthman, was meant as satire.
Asked if the inclusion of the words "heil Jane Corwin" were meant to suggest Corwin is a Nazi, Murphy said no, responding that he "just thought that was how Republicans spoke."
Murphy said his goal with both the fake site and the Koch prank is "pointing out the truth when it's lacking."
He added: "It's gonzo, right?"
Murphy is actually on the ballot against Corwin in the May 24 special election, on the Green Party line. A poll released Friday found Corwin with 36 percent of the vote, followed by 31 percent for Democrat Kathleen Hochul, 23 percent for Tea Party candidate Jack Davis and five percent for Murphy.
Matthew Harakal, a Corwin spokesperson, told the local Batavian online newspaper in response to the satiric site that "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
Corwin is just the latest candidate to get burned by an outsider setting up shop at a web address that would seem to belong to the candidate. The site jonhuntsman.com, which one would assume belongs to potential GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, currently features a positive note Huntsman sent to President Obama. The site is actually run by a Democratic activist.