If you tried to donate online to the Republican slate for Washington Township Council early this week, you got a whole lotta Shy Love instead.

The "donate" icon on the official website of candidates Chris Del Borrello, Giancarlo D'Orazio, and Daniel Morley (www.wtfreshstart.com) hooked up would-be donors with Ms. Love, an adult-video performer who exhibits no signs of shyness.

The apparent cyber attack gives the phrases political hack and dirty politics a new twist. Or perhaps a new kink, given Ms. Love's star turns.

"It's one of the most bizarre things I've seen in my 15 years in politics," says Jill McCrea, who heads the township Democrats. She was referring not to Ms. Love's adventures, but to what we'll call Donate-Gate.

The errant link, which McCrea helpfully brought to the media's attention, may have been in place for days. The donate function appeared to work properly as recently as Aug. 15.

But by Monday, some circles in town were abuzz.

"A couple of neighbors told me about it. They were taken aback," says Mike Sims, a Democratic candidate.

"Quite a few people had seen it and were texting about it," says McCrea, who clicked "donate" on her iPad while at Kandle Lake. "I had to close it very quickly," she notes.

By mid-morning Tuesday, apparently no one - including potential donors who may have been scooted off to porno-land - had complained to the Republicans.

"Thank you very much for letting us know," site manager Randy Ford said in an e-mail when I sought a reaction to the Love connection.

"We are looking to see if [we] somehow got hacked. The site is fixed and passwords have been changed."

Now, if you click - go ahead, you know you want to - you travel to a functional, if not downright dull, page.

No more beaming, unclothed Ms. Love. It's all GOP hopefuls Del Borrello, D'Orazio and Morley, smiling in dark suits, white shirts and red ties.

The three are running against Democrats Lisa Bercute, Matthew Gorman, and Sims, who likewise are suitably attired online (www.smartgovernment.org/WashingtonTownshipCandidates.cfm).

Control of the five-member council, which now is all Democrats, is at stake in the Nov. 2 election. Though the community is quintessentially suburban, its political style tends toward the urban - like that of, say, South Philly, where many residents have roots.

This may explain why both sides are indulging in some street-corner spin while attempting to occupy the moral high ground.

It's been suggested to me that the Democrats did it to the Republicans. And that the Republicans did it to themselves.

"I think it's sad," says Mike Pascetta, chairman of the township Republicans. "I don't know where it originated. . . . It's hard to point fingers."

Oh, go ahead.

"I find it very, very interesting that our opposition" alerted reporters, he adds.

"It wouldn't have come from our side," says Sims, who also finds the situation sad - because the GOP hasn't "apologized."

To whom? Shy Love?

I decide to find out what the lady in question thinks of Donate-Gate, so I direct an e-mail to her via the site I was sent to when I first clicked the donation icon.

So far, I haven't heard a word.

It seems Ms. Love is a bit shy after all.

Contact staff writer Kevin Riordan at 856-779-3845 or kriordan@phillynews.com.