If you’re a registered voter and/or ever contributed to a political campaign, you’ve probably received a fair share of political spam in your inbox. These messages almost always beg for money and give the impression it’s needed urgently. How do they get the addresses?
Usually from voter rolls, census reports, and other publicly available documents. If you answer their appeals and give money, even if it’s only $5, you’ll get even more spam. My husband and I donated to President Obama’s campaign in 2008 and have been getting spam ever since. The messages have from lines that claim they were sent by Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, Sherrod Brown, and various other well-known Democratic politicians. They are also made to look like personal messages from them to us but obviously they are just canned messages meant to persuade us to give even more money.
In my experience, some political campaigns seem to be buying mailing lists from anyone they can. I got an email from a Republican candidate for congress in Florida asking me to contribute to their campaign and vote for them. I’m a Democrat from New York! A total waste of their time – and perhaps of the money they spent to buy the list they got my name from.
The reason politicians are allowed to do this lies within the CAN-SPAM Act. Under it charities, companies you’ve done business with in the past and yes, politicians are generally exempt from the requirements everyone else must follow or face stiff fines (the same is true of the Do Not Call list, by the way, which is why those lovely “robocalls” are allowed). I suppose it’s not surprising that the lawmakers would exempt themselves from the very laws they pass.
Does political spam bother you? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.