Before they announce that they’re running for Congress, most candidates ensure they’ve locked up the rights to relevant Internet domain names.
But after it emerged late Monday that former Democratic House candidate Jon Ossoff, 32, would challenge Republican Sen. David Perdue in 2020, it quickly became clear that his campaign hadn’t taken that important step.
Indeed, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has purchased www.JonOssoff.com. Now, visitors are redirected to an article in The Washington Examiner titled, “Jon Ossoff, top Democratic congressional candidate, raises questions with misleading resume.”
The NRSC said it would continue to maintain the website throughout Ossoff’s run.
“JonOssoff.com will have all the details about Jon Ossoff’s resume,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Nathan Brand told Fox News. “Since Ossoff is a serial resume inflator, voters will need a good source for all the news about Ossoff’s misleading claims and left-wing views.”
Ossoff rose to prominence two years ago riding a wave of dissatisfaction with Washington, and his campaign for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District was backed nationally by enthusiastic supporters, even though he lived outside the district.
Ossoff raised roughly $30 million in the 2017 special election for the seat but lost to Republican Karen Handel.
But he turned heads by claiming in an advertisement, among other boasts, that he had been a national security aide with a “top-secret clearance.”
“I’ve got five years of experience as a national security staffer in the U.S. Congress,” Ossoff said. “I held top-secret security clearance.”
One of his campaign ads claimed that “as a national security aide with top-secret clearance, Jon Ossoff saw waste and abuse by military contractors and sought to stop it.”
The Washington Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, rated Ossoff’s claims misleading, noting that Ossoff did not actually hold a top-secret clearance for the whole five years that he worked in Congress. Instead, he held the clearance for five months.
“Moreover, declaring himself a ‘senior national security staffer’ is also bit too much résumé puffery,” Kessler observed. “Ossoff did not even work on the staff of a major committee, such as Armed Services or International Relations. Instead, he was an aide to a relatively low-ranking member of Congress.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reported that the Ossoff campaign had claimed that the candidate received the security clearance after the 2006 election, only to reveal under pressure that he received the clearance in March 2012.
Cybersquatting laws, which prevent entities from buying up trademarked domain names in bad faith, do not generally apply to the purchase of domain names that include the non-trademarked names of popular figures.
Despite the past disappointments and bluster, Ossoff, the fourth Georgia Democrat to join the race that could help determine control of the Senate, confidently announced his bid Monday night during an appearance on “The Last Word” on MSNBC.
“I’m running because we face a crisis of political corruption in this country,” Ossoff told host Lawrence O’Donnell, calling Perdue a “caricature of Washington corruption.”
Ossoff cited Congress’ failure to take up gun control legislation and political influence at scientific institutions as examples of corruption.
Perdue, a former Fortune 500 company chief executive, has emerged as a close ally of President Trump after being elected in 2014.
Perdue’s isn’t the only Georgia Senate seat that’s up for grabs. Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson announced his retirement late last month due to health issues, and a special election to fill the remaining two years of his term will be on the November 2020 ballot.
The two open Senate seats have raised Georgia’s status as a must-watch 2020 battleground. While Ossoff will face a primary contest in the race for Perdue’s seat, the race for Isakson’s seat won’t have any primary and will instead be open to all qualified candidates.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.