Monday, April 21, 2014
An anonymous website attacking gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler apparently has been taken down. The site, called "The Secret File on Eliot Cutler," has been inaccessible at least since Friday.
The domain name, www.cutlerfiles.com, was registered by a company called Domains Proxy Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., which allows users to register domain names anonymously. The company will not disclose the names of the registrants unless ordered to do so by a court or other legal proceeding.
MaineToday Media has employed two Internet experts to investigate who might be behind the website.
In a letter to the company Oct. 1, a lawyer representing Cutler demanded the identity of the person or people behind the website. In the letter, Peter DeTroy of Portland threatened legal action and said the site contained "grossly defamatory" information.
Maine's ethics commission is investigating the site at the request of Cutler's campaign, which argued that spending of $100 or more for the website would trigger a requirement to disclose the names of those who produced it, since it would be considered under Maine law to be an independent expenditure.
The site's creators claim that their expenditures to date have been less than $100.
The creators used the name Michael Blessing to register the website. On Monday, a person using the pseudonym Michael Blessing and an e-mail address email@example.com told The Portland Press Herald that the hosting fee of $4.99 for November would have brought expenditures close to the $100 threshold.
The e-mail said the site's creators took the site down to stay below the $100 spending limit.
Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org