GOP Congressman's Staffer Outed In Online Propaganda Scheme

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The next time you see some thread where out of the blue a right wing apologist appears and starts making waves, you might be right in thinking he's a paid operative. This is especially poignant as republicans launch campaigns designed to discredit all non-right-leaning online web sites as being radical leftist training grounds.

A top aide to U.S. Rep. Charles Bass resigned Tuesday after disclosures that he posed as a supporter of the Republican's opponent in blog messages intended to divert and mislead his opponents supporters.

Operators of two liberal blogs traced the postings to the House of Representatives' computer server. Bass' office traced the messages to his policy director, Tad Furtado, and issued a statement announcing Furtado's resignation Tuesday.

Posting as IndyNH and IndieNH, Furtado professed support for Democrat Paul Hodes but scoffed at a poll showing him tied with Bass and suggested Democrats should invest their time and money elsewhere.

[insert extra insatiable hubris tag here]

"I am going to look at the competitive race list to figure out where to send another mydd.com/netroots donation and maybe help out in other ways," IndieNH wrote. "Maybe CT or NY for me — they are at least close by. Anyone interested in pooling NH efforts for some of those races?"

Laura Clawson, who runs "Blue Granite," and Michael Caulfield, who runs "NH-02 Progressive," said they were suspicious of IndieNH's postings from the beginning.

"You see this all the time on political blogs, some elaborate act where someone says, 'Now, I hate to say something against a Democrat, but,'" Clawson told the Concord Monitor. "So you develop an eye for it. And this poster definitely tripped all the wires."

House ethics rules state that congressional staff time and equipment may not be used for campaign purposes, and that criminal and financial penalties can be assessed. The rules also say congressmen are responsible for their staff members' actions.

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