Congressional Web Site Slammed By E-Mails

The Web site for the House of Representatives has been overwhelmed this week by a deluge of visitors trying to e-mail their congressmen and download the financial bailout bill the House rejected Monday.

The site on Monday saw three to four times its normal traffic, according to Jeff Ventura, a spokesman for the House chief administrative officer. The traffic has slowed down the site and made it inaccessible to some, a problem that continued into Tuesday morning.

"It's extraordinary -- the highest level of Web traffic we've seen," Ventura said Tuesday. "This doesn't even compare to the release of the 9-11 Commission Report."

After the financial bailout bill was defeated in the House Monday, the number of people trying to download the bill diminished, he said, but the number of people using the House's standard e-mail form to contact congressmen continues to rise.

"We received millions of e-mails last night," Ventura said. "It was pretty staggering."

The House has implemented measures to limit the amount of e-mails flowing through to congressmen during high-traffic periods. If a person tries to e-mail his representative during one of those periods, he may receive a mechanized response indicating the system is overwhelmed and to try later. Ventura said the problem could last through the week.

"We had people working on it all night, and we still do," he said.

By Declan McCullagh