Oregon Lawmaker Under Scrutiny for Posting Home Addresses of Ballot Measure Petitioners

by | November 15, 2018 AT 9:20 AM

By Maxine Bernstein

Ceasefire Oregon has called on the state House of Representatives to investigate Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer, for putting online the phone numbers and home addresses of the chief petitioners of a ballot measure to ban assault weapons.

Penny Okamoto, executive director of the gun control advocacy group, sent an email last week to House Speaker Tina Kotek and the Oregon Ethics Commission, calling for the state House to convene a committee to investigate Post's alleged unethical behavior. The email was sent just days after Post retained his legislative seat in a race against Democrat challenger Dave McCall.

"Although the information is publicly available, Representative Post's action was clearly an attempt to harass and intimidate the chief petitioners and to undermine the ballot measure process," Okamoto wrote. "Representative Post's behavior is beneath the dignity of Oregon elected officials and chills political discourse."

Post called Ceasefire Oregon's allegations "outrageous," and said it's unfortunate that "this letter is the first thing Ceasefire wishes to pursue after a brutal election cycle," Post's legislative director Abby Weekly wrote in an email to The Oregonian/OregonLive. She pointed out that Post was doxed by a national writer who posted part of Post's social security number, as well as his home address and phone numbers online.

Kotek could not be reached immediately for comment.

In a Facebook post in March, Post encouraged gun rights supporters to personally contact three Portland clergy leading the initiative campaign to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines in Oregon. He posted the message on the Facebook page of a group called "The Heirs of Patrick Henry, Northwest."

"Should anyone want to make a phone call or send a note...." Post wrote above a photo of the three petitioners' phone numbers and home addresses. "Feel free to right click and save the picture then share everywhere."

The post led to harassing emails and phone calls to the petitioners, and it's had a chilling effect on others challenging the powerful gun rights lobby, Okamoto said. The petitioners of Initiative 43 have since withdrawn the ballot measure but are pursuing a bill that would ban assault weapons in the next legislative session..

The next month, Kurt Eichenwald, a Dallas-based journalist for Vanity Fair and MSNBC, posted Post's personal information online in an extensive Twitter tirade against the former conservative radio host. After posting portions of Post's social security number and phone number to his Twitter followers, Eichenwald then deleted the information, saying he'd made his point.

Okamoto also cited Post's use of Twitter on Oct. 6 to share a statement mocking victims of sexual assault, on the day U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in after a close confirmation vote in the Senate.

(c)2018 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)