GOP Congressional Candidate Admits Buying Sex-Themed Domain Names

On Thursday morning, Mother Jones reported that GOP congressional candidate Trey Radel, a former Fox radio talk show host in southwest Florida, had once owned a company that registered a number of smutty Internet domain names. Many of the sex-related web addresses were in Spanish. The list included such sites as www.casadelasputas (whore house), and www.sexguideonline.com. Radel did not respond to repeated requests for comment from Mother Jones. But after our story broke, Florida news outlets started hounding Radel for an explanation. This afternoon, he finally addressed the matter.

The News Press reports:

Radel said Thursday afternoon that he owned a business that bought and sold thousands of domain names, and he was not aware of every name purchased. When he became aware of such names, he said, they were disposed of immediately and he worked to ensure no content was posted.

He said the story is the work of a liberal publication that often attacks conservative Republican candidates.

Radel also sent a letter to supporters saying Mother Jones is an “ultra-liberal San Francisco rag… trying to personally smear” him—an “attack” he wears “as a badge of honor.”

Still, Radel’s opponents were quick to criticize his past business. Again from the News Press:

“It’s shocking and it’s disappointing,” said state Rep. Paige Kreegel, R-Punta Gorda, who’s running against Radel for the GOP congressional nomination. Even if there was no content under those names, he said, the names speak for themselves.

Radel’s explanation may also not survive further media scrutiny. He registered some of the domain names in 2005, and www.casadelasputas.com, for example, was still listed under his name through the end of 2010. After that, the registrant’s name was hidden through Domains By Proxy, a registration service. But this address remained registered anonymously until the end of May this year. It wasn’t deleted until this week—after Mother Jones asked the Radel campaign about it.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest