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.