A few weeks before the 2020 presidential election, someone registered the domain BarbaraLeeForSenate.com.
Even before Sen. Kamala Harris was elected vice president, a Net user apparently thought Rep. Lee would like that website. Such people are termed domain squatters, and so-called cybersquatting is common. (Domains average $10 to $20 a year.)
Oakland Democrat Lee, first elected to Congress in 1998, was touted as a potential Senate appointee of Gov. Gavin Newsom in early 2021. But the Harris seat instead went to Secretary of State Alex Padilla in mid-January 2021.
So what happened to BarbaraLeeForSenate.com?
It’s now being used to send visitors to AdamSchiff.com — the Senate campaign website for the L.A.-area Democratic congressman since 2000.
Called a redirect, the Lee-for-Schiff website switcheroo isn’t alone. The same thing happens when you click on KatiePorterForSenate.com — created on Dec. 3, 2022. It takes visitors straight to AdamSchiff.com.
And for good measure, the same registrant owns AdamSchiffForSenate.com — created the same day as KatiePorterForSenate.com. The Adam Schiff site isn’t being used for anything at the moment.
Website registration records don’t say who actually owns these sites. They all point to the registrant — Domain Protection Services Inc. of Denver, which hasn’t responded to requests for comment. (The business has been accused of scamming.)
But the Schiff campaign is not amused.
“Schiff for Senate did not purchase and does not own the domain, and would urge whoever does to immediately stop redirecting it,” campaign spokeswoman Lauren French said Sunday.
On Monday, when informed of the Katie Porter site redirect to AdamSchiff.com, French repeated the admonition: “Our statement from yesterday applies for both of those domains.”
The Lee and Porter campaigns haven’t responded to questions, and neither have the state Democratic Party or Domain Protection Services. Its phone number plays a recorded message.
The site-redirect for Rep. Barbara Lee, who registered to enter the race to succeed Sen. Dianne Feinstein a week ago and announced today (Tuesday), was first detected a couple weeks ago.
Last Tuesday. San Diego PR and political consultant Jared Sclar offered an opinion piece to Times of San Diego noting the Barbara Lee redirect. With suspicion but no proof, his essay said the Schiff campaign was behind the hanky-panky. Times of San Diego opted not to run the piece.
On Monday, Sclar wrote: “I strongly suspect that the Schiff team was behind it.”
Sclar once was field director for Rep. Mike Levin’s 2020 re-election campaign and worked as deputy chief of staff for San Diego Councilman Raul Campillo.
- Click: Domain name registration records for barbaraleeforsenate.com
- Click: Domain name registration records for katieporterforsenate.com
- Click: Domain name registration records for adamschiffforsenate.com
He also suspects the Schiff camp is behind the Katie Porter redirect — which isn’t illegal. But again he can’t prove it.
The redirects aren’t likely to produce more traffic for Schiff, however. According to website traffic ranker similarweb.com, the Lee- and Porter-for-Senate sites don’t register. (AdamSchiff.com gets about 630,000 monthly visits from 510,000 unique users.)
Google searches for “BarbaraLeeforSenate” and “KatiePorterForSenate” yield little. (By contrast, “AdamSchiffForSenate” shows AdamSchiff.com on the first page.)
Despite the value of a campaign website — for fundraising and promotion — Barbara Lee apparently has no such site yet. KatiePorter.com serves as her home for the Senate bid.
Updated at 8:51 a.m. Feb. 21, 2023