The first thing I thought when I saw the Grand Rapids Press coverage with my name was, “Hmmm, being on the Intelligence Committee must come with some privileges!”

Secondly, I said to myself, “So much for anonymity with private domain registration!”

Somehow, the Hoekstra Campaign tracked down that the owner of the domain is me, Ben Padnos.

I grew up in Holland, Michigan, graduated from Holland High School, and attended the University of Michigan before moving to California in 1994. I now live in Manhattan Beach, just outside of Los Angeles.

I want to start with one important point regarding anonymity. I intended to be anonymous purely to avoid any possible embarrassment for my family members, who live in Pete Hoekstra’s district, and have a business in West Michigan. Anything written on represents ME, personally, and not any of my other family members.

You’ll note that even though I perceived myself as having anonymity, everything I posted I’d feel completely comfortable looking the Congressman in the eye and saying to his face. The Internet purist in me – I’ve been involved in online industry since 1996 – doesn’t like the low-brow level anonymity sometimes provides. We’ve been hard-hitting, but not vulgar or profane. People often hide behind anonymity in “Cyberspace” and take it to a very low, crass, disrespectful level. I don’t like that.

Now, on to the story….I’ve always had an interest in politics. I actually worked stuffing envelopes for Guy VanderJagt in 1990, and interned in Washington DC for Congressman Fred Upton in the summer of 1994.

I am a Registered Independent here in California – I am not affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic Party. If anything I lean Libertarian.

I honestly remember the optimism and idealism that Pete Hoekstra had when he ran for Congress in 1992, riding around the district on his bicycle. I also remember how passionate he was about “having perspective” and promised to stay a maximum of 6 terms.

The Congressman’s office even arranged a ticket for me to attend the Republican National Convention in San Diego in 1996!

But Pete Hoekstra is now in his 9th term, and a lot of things have changed over the years. He’s gone from an upstart Congressman to one who represents an extremist fringe wing that is divisive and polarizing, attacking virtually anything that comes from the Democratic side of the aisle.

Which brings up a very interesting point….Here’s the ranking Republican Member of the House Intelligence Committee failing to do something as simple as registering his own .com domain name. It makes you think….you have to have some empathy for the Obama Administration and the Department of Homeland Security on how daunting the job of dealing with hundreds or thousands of terrorist threats every day… can see how one lunatic getting on a plane in another country can slip through the cracks…

The domain name,, has been available for a long time. I own thousands of domains and follow the industry closely. I couldn’t believe he hadn’t reserved his over the years. And when Pete Hoekstra sent a letter out to his constituents raising money on the backs of a terrorist attack, I found it SO grotesquely distasteful, I decided to register the domain — 6 days ago — and do something with it.

I’ll also add that we own domain names of other US Senators and Representatives.

I’ll wrap up in summarizing the goal and spirit of this blog: the State of Michigan needs a bi-partisan, optimistic, forward-looking, technology-savvy champion of the People. Not a Chief Executive who represents an extremist minority group. We need someone who will run the State competently, like a successful business, with a culture of respect and collaboration.

Pete Hoekstra is not that guy.

Thanks for reading, and for spreading the word about our efforts!

Wishing you all the best in the new year — and new decade — ahead!

Ben Padnos

P.S. There is absolutely NO financial motive here. And the domain name is not for sale. Any income derived from anything related to will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Holland.

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