News and Commentary

FBI Arrests Hacker Tied To Disgraced Democrat Katie Hill For Attacking Hill’s Primary Opponents, Report Says
U.S. Representative Katie Hill (D-CA) speaking at the Ignite Young Women Run D.C. Conference in Washington, DC.
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Federal law enforcement officials have arrested a man connected to disgraced former Democrat Rep. Katie Hill’s (CA) campaign, saying that he was responsible for cyber attacks on Hill’s primary opponents in 2018.

Authorities “arrested Arthur Dam in connection with a hacking spree that disrupted the 2018 Democratic California primary that ultimately nominated Katie Hill,” The Intercept reported. “Dam, in the criminal complaint, is linked directly to the Hill campaign.”

Dam’s wife, Kelsey O’Hara, was Hill’s fundraiser during the her campaign and, after Hill was elected, became Hill’s district director.

“During the campaign, the websites of Hill’s opponents, Democrats Jess Phoenix and Bryan Caforio, who was supported by Justice Democrats, were both attacked, though Hill’s never was, raising suspicions at the time that Hill’s campaign was behind them,” The Intercept added. “One major attack on Caforio’s campaign website came at a crucial moment, just an hour before the biggest debate of the primary, the complaint notes. Hill eventually won the California primary by fewer than 3,000 votes.”

The complaint stated:

The Los Angeles Field Office of the FBI has been investigating four cyber attacks which targeted and disrupted the website of a political candidate for a congressional district in California (the “Victim”). As a result of the four cyber attacks, the Victim’s website was down for approximately 21 hours during the campaign. 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. In June 2018, the Victim lost the primary election for the congressional district.

Dam was found to be connected to the cyber attacks through subscriber information, IP addresses, geolocation history, and open sources, including through his employer and his wife, K.O., who worked for one of the Victim’s opponents.

In a statement to The Intercept, Caforio called into question the legitimacy of Hill’s win given the fact that the FBI was alleging that someone tied to her allegedly attacked his campaign during a critical time in the race.

“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. “This should serve as a reminder that Russia is not the only threat to our democracy. There are bad actors on all sides who will do anything for their own personal gain, and we need to come together as Americans to defend our country and hold everyone responsible accountable.”

Hill resigned from Congress last fall after numerous graphic photos of her emerged online and the House Ethics Committee launched a formal investigation into allegations that she had a relationship with a congressional staffer, which is prohibited.

Hill blamed her decision to step down on the fact that she is a woman, claiming that “there’s biphobia that is rampant still.”

“Your story exploded,” ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos said. “How much of it is tied to the fact that, in your mind, that you’re bisexual?”

“I think a lot of it is, and it’s also partly because I’m a woman, we haven’t seen as many of the sex scandals with women, but the bisexuality is a huge part of it, right?” Hill responded. “There is a fantasy element of it, there’s biphobia that is rampant still, and certainly misunderstanding of what bisexuality is, and it’s sensationalizing, right?”

Hill was the first woman in U.S. history to resign from Congress over a sex scandal.

This report has been updated to include additional information.