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Ore. legislator's email blast crashed servers

Associated Press Published: May 9, 2012

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A top Oregon legislator who's compiled a massive email list from public records requests of state agencies crashed the Legislature's Web server earlier this year when he tried to send a newsletter and four large attachments to 475,477 people, according to a report by information technology specialists.

The report comes to light amid complaints by Democrats and others over what they call spam from Republican Rep. Dennis Richardson of Central Point, who first said he was using the list to solicit suggestions for use in his role as co-chair of the committee that drafts the budget.

But Richardson has also used the list to send his legislative newsletters and other communications, the Salem Statesman Journal reported ( Wednesday.

Democrats said Richardson hasn't fulfilled his promised to take people off the list if they don't want to be on it, and those who successfully unsubscribe also give up other legislative updates.

"This forces a 'Richardson spam or nothing' choice, wherein recipients must choose between receiving no emails or continuing to receive Richardson's polemics," Democratic spokesman Jared Mason-Gere said.

Richardson crashed the Oregon State Legislature's Web server for two hours on Feb. 8 during this year's session, according to a report filed with Legislative Administration, slowing Internet access to a crawl and impeding public access to the Legislature's site, including audio streaming of legislative hearings, the report said.

"I know that his office has worked with the tech folks at the Capitol to iron out some solutions to avoid that in the future," said House Republican Caucus spokesman Nick Smith. "There haven't been any crashes since that incident."

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