SANTA MONICA—Federal officers arrested a Santa Monica man Friday, February 21 for charges related to a series of cyberattacks on a website for a candidate who was campaigning for a Congressional seat in 2018.
Arthur Dam, 32, was charged with one count of intentionally damaging and attempting to damage a protected computer. Officials accuse him of coordinating cyberattacks on Rep. Katie Hill’s Democratic Rival Rep. Bryan Caforio. Allegedly, Dam staged four cyberattacks in April and May 2018 that resulted in Caforio’s website to be down for a total of 21 hours.
The website first crashed on April 20, 2018, then again on the 21st, 28th and May 29th. The attack that transpired on April 28 was the day of the debate between Hill and Caforio. The attack that transpired on May 29, 2018 was just days before Hill beat Caforio in the June 5 primary.
According to the affidavit, “The victim reported suffering losses, including website downtime, a reduction in campaign donations, and time spent by campaign staff and others conducting critical incident response.”
Caforio believes the attacks attributed to his loss in the June 2018 primary election since his supporters were unable to donate, learn or volunteer to work for his campaign. A total of $27,000 to $30,000 was spent to combat the cyberattacks.
Dam’s wife Kelsey O’Hara, worked for Katie Hill as a fundraising consultant.
“Like everyone else, I was surprised and disturbed to see the news of this criminal complaint,” Hill said in a statement. She claims she had no knowledge of Dam’s conduct. Hill resigned November 3, 2019 after an alleged violation of ethics. There were reports that she had affairs with House staff and a campaign aide. She admitted to the affair with the campaign aide, but denied the affair with the House staffer.
“I’m absolutely shocked and saddened to learn today that Katie Hill’s campaign associates hacked my campaign in order to help her advance through the primary,” Caforio said in a statement. “This should serve as a somber reminder that Russia is not the only threat to our democracy.”
If found guilty, Dam could spend a total of 10 years in federal prison.