A digital site spoofing Andrew Janz’s mayoral campaign that redirected visitors to a fundraising portal for rival candidate Jerry Dyer was criticized by both campaigns Monday afternoon.
Shortly after the Dyer campaign denounced the site, the spoof site’s link to Dyer’s fundraising portal changed. Instead, it linked to a YouTube video featuring pop singer Rick Astley.
Listen to this article:
For the uninitiated, the redirection to that video is known as “Rickrolling” and is an internet legend.
“In 2017, Assembly Bill 1104 was signed into law and makes criminal this type of cyber fraud,” the Janz campaign said in a statement.
AG Investigation Sought
The Janz campaign said it had asked the state Attorney General’s Office to investigate those responsible for the deceptive website. In addition, the campaign said it planned to file a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission.
“The California Political Cyberfraud Abatement Act was created to protect the integrity of our elections in the aftermath of Russian interference in our elections in 2016. It’s disappointing to learn that there are still people out there who are using the Trump playbook to mislead voters in order to win an election. We’re calling on Jerry Dyer to condemn the fake website and those behind it,” the Janz campaign said.
Dyer Campaign Condemns ‘Attempt to Deceive Voters’
Less than 90 minutes later, the Dyer campaign issued a statement denouncing the website.
“We strongly condemn this attempt to deceive the voters and provoke negative attacks and hostility between both campaigns,” the Dyer camp said. “Using false information to deceive voters is nothing short of wrong, and California laws on deceptive campaign practices are clear. This is why we are supportive of a complete investigation to determine who is behind this type of negative campaigning.”
In their first mayoral forum on Oct. 19 at St. Paul’s Methodist Church, Dyer and Janz aggressively pointed out their differences on the issues but didn’t engage in personal attacks.
They are running to succeed Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, who announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t seek a second term.