Alaska: Berkowitz Web Site Gets Unflattering Imitators

Posted April 29, 2008 at 6:26pm

What’s in a Web site name? Former state House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz (D) is learning that lesson the hard way after multiple fake Web sites with addresses similar to his have popped up on the Internet.

These Web sites, which are permutations of the address for Berkowitz’s Web site, hyperlink to sites for San Francisco neighborhoods known for their thriving gay culture, an advertisement for a T-shirt that reads “trust fund baby” and a blog mocking his candidacy.

The campaign coordinator for Berkowitz, Ona Brause, said the owner of the Web sites has not come forward, though there is evidence that they came from a political source.

“There’s some evidence that links it to another person working for a campaign, but we’re not sure, and no one has come forward to claim responsibility,” Brause said.

Berkowitz is the favorite in a three-person Democratic field to win the Aug. 26 primary. Embattled Rep. Don Young (R), a 30-year veteran of the state’s Congressional delegation, is facing a primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell and state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux.

The other Democratic candidates, 2006 nominee Diane Benson and former state party Chairman Jake Metcalfe told the Anchorage Daily News, one of a few local news outlets that first reported the story, that they hoped no one in their campaigns was behind the Web sites, but vowed to take action if that turned out to be the case.

— Shira Toeplitz