Attorney general’s emails ‘aren't spam’

Florida's attorney general has spearheaded an aggressive campaign against unsolicited emails, or spam. But as a candidate for governor, he appears to be generating some unwanted Internet clutter himself.

Charlie Crist was a staunch defender of a tough anti-spam law passed by the state legislature last year, under which violators can be fined up to $500 for every email they send.

But a report in Thursday's St. Petersburg Times said Crist, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, had annoyed some residents of the state by sending them unwanted emails promoting his candidacy and soliciting campaign donations.

Joe Spooner, a 41-year-old investment adviser, told the newspaper he had no idea how the Crist campaign got his email address but repeatedly tried to unsubscribe.

After his fifth request to be removed, Spooner sent the Crist campaign an email of his own. He accused Crist of hypocrisy because of the way he seemed to have forgotten all about his vocal crackdown on spammers.

'Do I need to file a complaint with the attorney general's office?" Spooner wrote.

The newspaper quoted other people who had received unsolicited emails from Crist's campaign.

Crist was not immediately available for comment. But Vivian Myrtetus, a spokeswoman for his gubernatorial campaign, denied that he was somehow holding himself to different standards than other emailers.

"This is not spam. This is truthful, it's straight forward. We're honest. To be spam it has to be, under Florida law, defined as being deceptive," Myrtetus.

"The attorney general does not consider this spam and is, as you know, at the forefront of protecting citizens against that."

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