House candidate Tim Burns says website 'attacked'

Pennsylvania House candidate Tim Burns (R) tried to capitalize on the technical difficulties his website experienced last week.

He recently sent out a fundraising email to supporters asking them for contributions to "help in this fight to stop Nancy Pelosi and fight back against her Washington smear machine." Burns then cited his successful fundraising push last week.

He noted his campaign exceeded its original goal of raising $50,000 "despite my website being hacked and shut down for almost an entire day.

“While it is still unknown why and how my site was attacked on Friday, I do know that people from this district and around the country were frustrated that they could not respond and help in this effort," Burns wrote.

That contradicted what his campaign told the Ballot Box the day the website went down.

It didn't crash because of foul play, Kent Gates, a spokesman for the Burns campaign said last week. "It is a problem with the hosting company and we tried to get it resolved all day."

The Ballot Box followed up with Gates about the fundraising pitch. He said "it is true that the site was hacked at some level."

Gates, in an email: "What I was making clear to you was that we had no way of knowing if it was done intentionally for political reasons, internally with Network Solutions or what the exact reason [was]."

He said the campaign suspected that a "disgruntled employee" -- not a Democratic operative -- was responsible.

"We have since moved the site to its own hosting site and beefed up security on it," Gates said.

Burns is running in the special House election for the late Rep. John Murtha's (D-Pa.) seat. He faces Democrat Mark Critz in the May 18 vote. 

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