For weeks now, a website has been attacking Sumner City Councilman Matt Richardson, who is challenging state Sen. Pam Roach. The man behind the site is Chris Clifford, a former aide to Roach who says he wants Richardson removed from the city council.
Richardson’s attorney last week sent a cease-and-desist letter to Clifford, copying Roach, who maintains she has nothing to do with electmattrichardson.com.
“Her direct aides have got that site up posing as me, using my name and using my picture,” Richardson said.
His attorney, James Frush, wrote the website “violates Federal cyberpiracy/ cybersquatting laws and must cease immediately.” He cites two laws, though both seem to apply only to people who are profiting off of such websites. Frush also cites a related study ordered by Congress over its concerns about the use of false domain names in politics.
Neither he nor Richardson promises to sue, but Frush writes that Richardson “reserves the right” to do so.
Clifford said the site is staying up, and that message is trumpeted proudly on the site itself in all caps: “SUE US, YOUR DEMAND LETTER MEANS NOTHING, NOTHING ON THE WEBSITE IS FALSE, THE LAW YOU CITE DOES NOT APPLY TO THIS SITE…”
And Roach said last week that while she’s not involved with the site, “There’s nothing incorrect that’s in that space.”
The site contains a number of documents that have also been cited in news stories, including The News Tribune’s. We wrote about Richardson’s reprimand by and departure from Federal Way schools over accusations about his classroom behavior, and a complaint about the personal messages on his city e-mail account. Today Avani Nadkarni at our news partner, the Puyallup Herald, writes that Richardson was cited last month for racing another driver at 77 mph in a 35 mph speed zone.
Here’s the letter: