The messages originated as e-mails, and they came from a variety of domains including votersett.com, informedett.com, republicanett.com and GOPmessage.com. (The “ett” suffix appears to refer to “e-mail to text” — more on that shortly.)
GoDaddy.com registration data currently lists “G Joseph” as the registrant behind those domains. Gabriel S. Joseph III is ccAdvertising’s president; attempts to reach him Wednesday were not immediately successful. The person who answered the phone at ccAdvertising Wednesday, after inquiring if I’d like to be added to a do-not-contact list, said Joseph was “not available” but would pass on a message.
According to DailyKos, the GoDaddy site earlier Wednesday listed the domains’ registrant as Jason Flanary, who ran last year as a Republican to represent Fairfax County in the Virginia state senate and has ties to ccAdvertising. A year ago, Virginia Democrats and others lodged complaints with authorities about similar texts carrying messages pertaining to Flanary’s race and other races.
CcAdvertising lists Burger King, the Washington Capitals, and various Republican politicians and groups among its clients. It’s unclear who may have paid for the Tuesday texts or otherwise authorized them, considering the utility of sending anti-Obama texts to the deep-blue 202 area code is questionable at best.
While spam text messages are generally illegal under federal law, Tuesday night’s political texts flew through a loophole because they were in fact sent as e-mails. Unsolicited political e-mails are exempt from federal spam restrictions.