Rep. Pete Hoekstra not behind PeteHoekstra.com…but was able to out the guy who is

PeteHoekstra.com was snapped out by an anonymous registrar and began posting anti-Rep. Pete Hoekstra screeds.

Though the registration was presumably private, somehow Rep. Hoekstra’s staff was able to out the owner, Ben Pardos Padnos, a longtime Internet entrepreneur who claims to own thousands of domains, including those belonging to other politicians.

Padnos said he was spurred to snatch the domain, which previously belonged to a soccer player, after Rep. Hoekstra’s fundraising campaign in the aftermath of the failed underpants-bombing incident:

The first thing I thought when I saw the Grand Rapids Press coverage with my name was, “Hmmm, being on the Intelligence Committee must come with some privileges!”

Secondly, I said to myself, “So much for anonymity with private domain registration!”

Somehow, the Hoekstra Campaign tracked down that the owner of the domain is me, Ben Padnos.

I want to start with one important point regarding anonymity. I intended to be anonymous purely to avoid any possible embarrassment for my family members, who live in Pete Hoekstra’s district, and have a business in West Michigan. Anything written on PeteHoekstra.com represents ME, personally, and not any of my other family members.

You’ll note that even though I perceived myself as having anonymity, everything I posted I’d feel completely comfortable looking the Congressman in the eye and saying to his face. The Internet purist in me – I’ve been involved in online industry since 1996 – doesn’t like the low-brow level anonymity sometimes provides. We’ve been hard-hitting, but not vulgar or profane. People often hide behind anonymity in “Cyberspace” and take it to a very low, crass, disrespectful level. I don’t like that.

The Grand Rapids News, to whom Rep. Hokestra’s staff tattled on Padnos, is silent on how Hoekstra’s staff found Padnos in the first place.

I'm a programmer, data journalist, and photographer in New York City. I'm the author of three in-progress books: The Bastards Books of Ruby, Photography, and Regular Expressions.