Websites have been an integral way for presidential candidates to raise money and get their word out. Thirteen candidates have dropped out since the ’08 race for president began. The power of the web has changed the election game altogether and has also brought up some new issues, like once they’re officially out of the running are there ethical obligations that politicians should undertake online? Should they, like blogs, update their sites with a final farewell or just shutter them forever? They certainly shouldn’t be accepting donations—unless they’re trying to pay off campaign debt and those terms are clearly spelled out.
Apparently Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards don’t think so. Out of all the failed candidates, those two are still accepting donations for their run for president—technically Dodd and Richardson are taking donations, but to pay off bills. Rudy took us for a buck, Edwards demanded five. How do they get away with this? You might think only a moron would be clueless enough to contribute to a busted campaign, but like that Nigerian banker, Rudy’s trying.

And now, with the Pennsylvania primaries taking place this Tuesday, April 22nd what will happen to that defeated candidate’s website? So, ANIMAL took a look at the two main campaign abusers as well as the other candidates to examine the trends for online electoral vanquishment.
Name: John Edwards
Party: Democrat
URL: www.johnedwards.com
Dropped out: January 30, 2008
Status: Website still actively seeking contributions. No mention of paying off debt. They accepted a donation of $5 after $1 was rejected, “Due to processing costs, we can not accept online contributions smaller than $5.” Email confirmation was sent: “Thank you for supporting John Edwards for President and showing your commitment to building the America we believe in. On behalf of John Edwards and the entire campaign team, I thank you.” David Bonior, Campaign Manager.
Name: Rudy Giuliani
Party: Republican
URL: www.joinrudy2008.com
Dropped out: January 29, 2008
Status: The boldest of all the sites, Rudy’s has a big fat contribute button front and center. No mention of dropping out or helping with the debt. Like Edwards, an email confirmation was sent after contributing, “Thank you for your contribution to my campaign for President. I appreciate your support. Please continue to visit my Web site, JoinRudy2008.com, regularly for updates about the campaign. Thank you again for your support. Let’s Keep Moving Forward, Rudy Giuliani.”
Name: Joe Biden
Party: Democrat
URL: www.joebiden.com
Dropped out: January 4, 2008
Status: Splash page with Biden for President ’08. No drop out announcement. No contribution button.
Name: Sam Brownback
Party: Republican
URL: www.sambrownback.goingon.com
Dropped out: October 18, 2007
Status: Website is completely shuttered. Can’t even cache, “We’re sorry, access to http://www.brownback.com/ has been blocked by the site owner via robots.txt.”
Name: Chris Dodd
Party: Democrat
URL: www.chrisdodd.com
Dropped out: January 4, 2008
Status: Website still active and soliciting donations to “help Chris retire the campaign’s debt.”
Name: Mike Huckabee
Party: Republican
URL: Was www.mikehuckabee.com, now www.huckpac.com
Dropped out: March 4, 2008
Status: Turned his website into a PAC to elect McCain and other Republicans. People cal still donate via a contribute button.
Name: Duncan Hunter
Party: Republican
URL: www.gohunter08.com
Dropped out: January 19, 2008
Status: He offers a dropping out note and thank you. No links, no contributions.
Name: Dennis Kucinich
Party: Democrat
URL: www.dennis4president.com
Dropped out: January 24, 2008
Status: Announcement of official withdrawl from the race. Although there’s a contribute button, “This organization is no longer taking online contributions.”
Name: Bill Richardson
Party: Democrat
URL: www.richardsonforpresident.com
Dropped out: January 10, 2008
Status: End of campaign announced, thanks supporters. Asks for donations for “retiring our campaign debt.”
Name: Mitt Romney
Party: Republican
URL: www.mittromney.com
Dropped out: February 7, 2008
Status: A big thank you and links to his CPAC speech.
Name: Tom Tancredo
Party: Republican
URL: www.teamtancredo.org / www.teamtancredo.typepad.com/
Dropped out: December 20, 2007
Status: Official site down, but blog still live. No mention of dropping out, but donations
Name: Fred Thompson
Party: Republican
URL: www.fred08.com
Dropped out: January 20, 2008
Status: “The website address you entered could not be found”
are not possible, “The CampaignContribution Account is closed.”
Name: Tommy Thompson
Party: Republican
URL: www.tommy2008.com
Dropped out: August 12, 2007
Status: “Sorry, but the site you are attempting to access doesn’t exist.”