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Consultant Linked To Katie Hill Charged With Hacking Her 2018 Primary Opponent

Chuck Ross on February 21, 2020

The husband of a former staffer for Katie Hill, the embattled former Democratic congresswoman, was arrested Friday on charges that he hacked the campaign website of one of Hill’s political opponents in 2018.

Arthur Dam, 32, is married to Kelsey O’Hara, a fundraiser for Hill’s campaign who also worked for her on Capitol Hill after the California Democrat took office.

An FBI complaint filed in federal court in California on Wednesday accused Dam of staging four cyber attacks in April and May 2018 against a candidate identified as Bryan Caforio, a Democrat who ran against Hill in the 2018 primary for California’s 25th congressional district.

Caforio lost to Hill by fewer than 3,000 votes in the primary. She went on to defeat incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Knight in the general election.

A CBS News affiliate in Los Angeles was first to report Dam’s arrest. The Intercept reported Dam’s link to Hill’s campaign.

Hill resigned from Congress on Nov. 1 in the wake of an ethics investigation into whether she had improper sexual relationships with two of her staffers. She has since embarked on a reputation rehabilitation campaign, suggesting that she was unfairly targeted because she is bisexual.

It is unclear if the investigation into Dam had anything to do with her resignation or if Hill knew of Dam’s alleged activities in 2018.

“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,” the FBI complaint says.

Campaign finance records show that Hill’s campaign paid Dam $500 on March 25, 2018 for “graphic design and website security consulting” services. The records also show that Dam shares an address with O’Hara, who is referred to as “K.O.” in the complaint. She is listed online as a “program and research director” for Hill’s now-shuttered congressional office in Palmdale, California.

“K.O. was found to maintain active social media profiles. K.O. publicly disclosed her employment with the Victim’s opponent, who was the eventual election winner. According to K.O.’s social media posts, K.O. was a consultant for the Victim’s opponent and active member of the opponent’s campaign,” the complaint reads.

According to the document, Dam’s cyber attacks shut down the Caforio’s campaign website for 21 hours, leading to a loss of campaign fundraising. Caforio also spent between $27,000 and $30,000 to fight off the cyber attacks.

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