Weird prerecorded phone call and Web site

By | August 2, 2006

I just got a phone call with a prerecorded message about House Bill 4493, which you can read here. The message claimed that the bill was going to be passed “tomorrow” and that I should call the backer of the bill (Senator Jack Hart) and the director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (James Rooney) to complain. The message directed me to visit the site for additional information. But something’s not right about this.

Here’s why:

  1. The legislature’s formal session for 2006 ended at midnight on July 31.
  2. Rules prohibit the legislature from passing laws after July 31 in an election year.
  3. Judging from the URL of the bill on the legislature’s Web site, it appears to be from last year’s session. This seems to be further supported by the fact that when you try to look up the history of the bill, you get a message telling you that the histories of bills from the 2004-5 session have been removed from the site.
  4. The prerecorded phone message I listened to didn’t identify who’s behind it.
  5. The Web site doesn’t identify who’s behind it. If you do a “whois” lookup on the domain, you discover that there’s no information about the owner of the domain.
  6. Comments posted on the Web site are moderated, and not a single comment has been posted.
  7. It seems odd for whoever is behind this to claim that the driver for a bill in the House is actually a Senator.

It looks to me like somebody’s trying to do a smear job on Hart or Rooney. I wonder who’s behind it. Any ideas?

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7 thoughts on “Weird prerecorded phone call and Web site

  1. jik Post author

    The Herald ran an editorial about the bill today, supporting it and urging Romney to sign it. Their reasoning was certainly a lot more cogent than the anonymous FUD that was posted at and put in the prerecorded phone campaign.

    The editorial doesn’t mention anything about the smear campaign. Given that the Herald is generally considered Boston’s “working-class” newspaper, I suppose it isn’t too surprising that they might be reluctant to dig too deeply into something that might involve a local blue-collar union, i.e., a bunch of their subscribers.

  2. jik Post author

    The Globe ran an article about it yesterday:

    They said that the attack “may have been connected to Local 103 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers because some items on the site linked to the union’s Web address,” Seems like a somewhat implausible theory, and they don’t seem to have any evidence of it other than that, except that Local 103 has been feuding with the MCCA for years.

    According to the article, at some point yesterday, was redirecting people to the State’s Web site. Now it’s just a single screen with a picture of shaking hands and the words, “This site is currently undergoing a period of cooperative reconstruction. Look for a re-launch after modifications are finalized.”

    I’m glad the Globe finally ran a story about it, but don’t forget folks, you heard it here first :-).

  3. Ron Newman says the bill passed on Monday and was signed by Gov. Romney on Tuesday.

    Today’s Herald says the bill passed, but is still awaiting Romney’s signature.

    I have no idea who is right.

  4. jik Post author

    The Web site is now claiming that the bill was passed in an informal session on Monday and signed into law on Tuesday.

    This information is attributed to a news story allegedly excerpted from “”, but the correct URL is “”. It doesn’t help the credibility of these anonymous detractors of this bill that they can’t even get simple Web site citations right.

    The article posted on is signed by “Joseph Mont”, but that by-line does not show up on the site; I can’t find any information about this individual on the Web.

    Although some of the text posted on is from the article posted on, some of it isn’t, and there’s no distinction drawn between the text that was published by The Bulletin and the additional text added by whoever runs That is, they seem to be trying to masquerade their own opinionated text as text that was published by someone else. In fact, the article in The Bulletin seems to be supportive of the bill, or at least neutral about it, and the article posted at has been warped to sound like it opposes the bill.

    Additional material posted today at is encouraging people to work to prevent the legislature from passing this bill in informal session, despite the fact that the was apparently passed Monday, before the end of the legislature’s formal session.

    It’s still not clear exactly what’s going on here, but it seems perfectly clear that something about whoever is behind stinks mightily.

  5. jik Post author

    I just sent email to the Globe and the Herald about this. Seems like they might want to do a little digging and try to find out who’s behind it. We’ll see.


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