Hill Republicans Fake Email from Pelosi
BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, February 18 2010
As Ben Smith has noted, the National Republican Congressional Committee, chair by Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, has sent out an email to the NRCC mailing list that is designed to look as if Nancy Pelosi is the sender. Pelosi's name is listed in the from field. The actual sender address -- masked by default in many email programs, including Gmail -- is an NRCC one, firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Dear Naive Republican...," the email begins -- perhaps a clue that the missive didn't actually come from the office of the Speaker.
As it turns out, this post is the second entry in what is shaping up to be a series that we might call the "Sure, you can do that online, but should you?" posts about the possibilities and perils of online politics. The first, from yesterday, involved whether a Texas District Attorney should really be tweeting out the names, case numbers, and other identifying details of people involved in DUI and domestic abuse cases, even if those details are part of the public record.
The outer boundaries of good email practice might be uncharted. But does the NRCC's spoofing the name of an elected official -- or anyone, for that matter -- cross over into the Thar be dragons zone of places to stay away from? Does it make matters worse that the phony email from the NRCC is capped of with what appears to be Pelosi's real signature? (Also, did you know that Wikipedia has copies of famous people's signatures?)
For what it's worth, your humble blogger happened to get a copy of the NRCC email in her inbox. And your gullible blogger, without opening it, totally believed it to be an email from the Speaker.