Samantha DeForest-Davis, a former aide to Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, is accused of involvement in the alleged doxxing scheme into Republican senators who supported Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to Politico, Deforest-Davis is accused of two misdemeanors for allegedly aiding a computer fraud and evidence tampering.
The charges come as another former aide, Jackson Cosko, was sentenced to four years in prison for his role in the matter; he was accused of “hacking Senate computers and releasing personal information online” about the GOP senators, according to Politico.
According to Roll Call, on Monday, October 1, 2018, “Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home addresses in Kentucky and Washington D.C. were added to his public Wikipedia page.” The site added that, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing involving Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford, “the personal home addresses, home phone numbers, cellphone numbers and email addresses of Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Orrin G. Hatch and Mike Lee, both R-Utah, were added to the public Wikipedia pages from what appeared to be an IP address connected to the Capitol.” The information was then sent to thousands of people through an automated Twitter account that tracks Wikipedia account changes from Congress.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. DeForest-Davis Was Accused of Helping Cosko By Loaning Him Her Office Key
Politico reported that DeForest-Davis’s alleged role in the doxxing caper involves assisting Cosko.
She worked for Hassan as a staff assistant from April 2017 through December 2018, Politico reports, and was allegedly “fired over her involvement in Cosko’s scheme.”
After Cosko was himself fired, he used DeForest-Davis’s office key to access data, and she allegedly agreed to “wipe down” computers to “erase traces of Cosko’s fingerprints,” according to Politico, which reports that DeForest-Davis and Cosko had a “close relationship,” and she had borrowed money from him for rent.
2. DeForest-Davis Wrote That She’s Starting a Teaching Job in Milwaukee
On her Facebook page, in June 2019, Samantha DeForest-Davis wrote that she is beginning a new teaching job in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
“Hey Facebook folks! Long post warning,” she wrote. “As many of you know I am teaching middle school English Language Arts in Milwaukee starting this Fall! I can’t wait to meet my students and their families. One of the biggest hurdles that students in high need schools face is a lack of the necessary materials that are needed daily. It makes it infinitely more difficult for students to take part in activities and classwork when they do not have basic supplies.”
Thus, she said she was raising money to help purchase school supplies. “To get the year started off right, I am fundraising to purchase startup supplies needed to welcome my students to a classroom that is clean and stocked full with materials,” she wrote. “This will allow me to provide the required supplies to students that otherwise would not have them. Thank you so much in advance for supporting me and my students at the beginning of this exciting journey. Plus everyone who invests in my classroom will receive a personalized gift!”
DeForest-Davis added: “Every dollar I receive will be put towards classroom supplies so anything you can contribute REALLY will make a difference for my first year. I want to make a great impression and a lasting impact on my first group of students and letting them know that they have a community that supports them both near and far will definitely get us on the right track. Feel free to share this link and thanks again!”
Her likes on Facebook include a non-profit group called Radical Living, the American Federation of Teachers, Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and more.
According to the Hill, this year, DeForest Davis was working as a “legislative correspondent for Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.)”
3. DeForest-Davis Was on the Dean’s List in College & Was a Student Admissions Ambassador
According to a Merit Page, Samantha DeForest Davis attended Augustana College in Illinois, where she repeatedly made the dean’s list.
A 2015 post says that “Samantha Deforest-Davis of Beloit majoring in Political Science and Africana Studies has been elected as senator for the Social Sciences.”
She also served as a “student admissions ambassador,” helping the Office of Admissions with student recruitment.
Another post said that “This past fall term, Samantha DeForest-Davis from Beloit utilized Augie Choice, a $2,000 grant available to Augustana College students to fund a study abroad experience, internship or research project.”
A post on the merit page said she had an internship with L.U.L.A.C. in Washington, D.C. and also worked at a custard stand and was in the Black Student Union and Student Government Association. She competed in track and field in high school.
4. DeForest-Davis’s Mom Ran for the City Council in Her Hometown
In 2008, DeForest-Davis’s mom ran for city council in Beloit, Wisconsin. Sheila DeForest-Davis has a bachelor’s degree Sociology and Master of Arts in Education, according to The Beloit Daily News.
The Daily News-Reported that Samantha’s mother had worked with needy teenagers and taught English at a local school. Her Facebook page defines her as “English Instructor at Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano” and “Former Elected City Councilor at City of Beloit, Wisconsin – Government.” She now lives in Costa Rica, the Facebook page says.
On Instagram, Samantha DeForest-Davis wrote that she was “WI raised. DC living. Change agent. Avid traveler. Food enthusiast.” She urged people to register to vote and shared a link.
The court docket says only this about Samantha DeForest-Davis: “Financial Affidavit as to SAMANTHA DEFOREST-DAVIS. This document is unavailable due to E-Government Act. Signed by Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson on 01/18/2019.”
5. Jackson Cosko Was Accused of Posting GOP Senators’ Private Information Online
Jackson Cosko once called himself a “Democratic Political Professional” with cybersecurity expertise. He was accused of multiple crimes for allegedly doxxing Republican Senators during the Brett Kavanaugh/Christine Blasey Ford hearings.
The United States Capitol Police arrested Cosko, saying he allegedly “posted private, identifying information (doxing) about one or more United States Senators to the internet,” a statement said.
According to Legistorm, he worked for U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and previously worked for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). He previously worked or was an intern with the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, according to Fox News. A September 2018 letter from Sheila Jackson Lee (D -TX) identified him as a staffer for her office at that time.
Jackson Lee’s office identified Cosko as an intern and said he was fired because of the accusations.
Jackson Cosko is the son of Democratic donors from California. Jackson Cosko has given small amounts over the years himself through ActBlue to Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Claire McCaskill.
You can read the criminal complaint filed against Cosko in D.C. federal court below or here:
According to the complaint (which doesn’t name the various affected politicians), on September 27, 2018, the staff of “U.S. Senator 1” notified the Threat Assessment Section of the Capitol Police to report that an unknown person had edited the Wikipedia page for that senator, adding the senator’s restricted personal information, such as private home addresses, personal cell phone numbers, and office numbers.
The investigators tracked the IP address that was used to edit the page. The staff of a Senator referred to as Senator 6 then reported the publication of the first senator’s information to Wikipedia as well as that of two other U.S. Senators.
The Wikipedia edits revealing the senators’ personal information “occurred roughly contemporaneously with public and highly publicized Senate proceedings related to a nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court,” the complaint says, adding that the IP addresses both belonged to the House of Representatives in Washington D.C.