If you happen to visit RomneyRyan.com, you might think you have reached a website operated by a Democratic political action committee, President Barack Obama's re-election campaign or maybe the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
In reality, the man behind the site, which highlights the controversy around presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's tax returns, is an enterprising young supporter of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Peter Crowley of Queens, N.Y., said in an email that he bought RomneyRyan.com along with dozens of other variants of potential Republican presidential tickets in 2010. Registration logs show RomneyRyan.com was created in February 2010.
"This is the first time I've done anything like this. RomneyRyan was an educated guess, one that I was always glad I had acquired," Crowley wrote. "But in the end I also bought about 70 other combinations that obviously never came to fruition, ones involving Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, but proudly never Sarah Palin."
Crowley seems most interested in generating a financial return on his investment, welcoming bids from both ends of the political spectrum. He said he plans to start the bidding for the domain name at $5,000.
Domain squatting has become serious business in politics. In December 2011, the Democratic-leaning super PAC American Bridge 21st Century revealed that it was the proud owner of the website NewtGingrich.com.
The group made the address into a running gag, having it direct to an assortment of sites highlighting unfavorable media moments in the former Speaker's presidential bid, including the Tiffany's home page after it was revealed that Gingrich had a $500,000 credit line at the jewelry retailer. It also linked to criticism of Romney at one point.
Squatters have already registered domains for possible future presidential runs, such as ChrisChristie2016.com and Hillary2016.com.
Crowley would prefer if Paul would buy the RomneyRyan.com domain from him, but he seems open to other offers.
"I support Ron Paul and would be thrilled if Dr. Paul's campaign were interested in acquiring the domain," Crowley said.
He said his only formal political experience came in a 2008 internship with Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). But he claims no relation to local Queens County Democratic Party Chairman and Rep. Joe Crowley.
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