What Does Steve Daines Have to Hide?

A quick search of the Internet shows that Republican congressional candidate Steve Dainesstevedaines not only has no understanding of copyright law, but seems desperate to hide something. He’s continuing his effort to googlewash his record, this time with the added bonus of stealing content from state newspapers.

A few months ago, I noticed that Daines was employing an unusual campaign strategy—farming out hundreds of articles and press releases to Internet content farms, sites that exist only draw search traffic for revenue generation and control search results.

Today, I noticed that the strategy has been ratcheted up just a bit as someone named Mark Daines posted an entire article by Charles Johnson to yet another content farm or two, going so far as to “claim” original rights to the article, but not remembering to remove Johnson’s contact information from the piece.


Someone may want to explain to Mr. Daines how copyright works before he gets to Washington.

Setting aside the questionable ethics and illegality of this copyright violation, it’s just such a bizarre strategy for a campaign—and Daines can’t seem to stop himself.

For instance, who doesn’t enjoy visiting the Steve Daines Business Blog, which started in February and only has a handful of posts which were then farmed out to at least dozens of content farms?

Or Stevedaines.info, which is separate from the campaign site, was started in May, and has a handful of posts, all of which were farmed out to content farms?

There are a number of likely explanations for this unorthodox approach to campaigning on the Internet. The most obvious is that Daines thinks that by posting his name on every web site in North America, he’ll finally open up a double digit lead over his KKK primary opponent. If hundreds of thousands of dollars won’t do that, perhaps a war of Internet attrition will.

I have to think, though, that there’s another explanation: Daines has something to hide. What Daines is doing seems a great deal like what companies like Reputation.com offer their customers: a service to hide critical information behind falsely positive spam.

People who have paid attention to Mr. Daines are no doubt aware of his ethical lapses in the past, but given that at this point no one outside of his company knows who Steve Daines is, he might just believe that he can bury that information (or something much worse) before the campaign kicks off in earnest.

What does Mr. Daines have to hide? Aside from his total lack of experience and surfeit of ethically questionable campaign strategies?

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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