A Democratic aide on Capitol Hill faces five federal charges connected to maliciously publishing the private information of senators on the Internet. The personal information of three Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans was posted during the panel’s hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh last Thursday.
Jackson A. Cosko, 27, most recently worked for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and was formerly on the staffs of Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
He has been charged with five federal counts and two counts under Washington, D.C., law in relation to the “doxing” of “one or more” lawmakers, according to a US Capitol Police news release. The charges include counts of witness tampering, identity theft, second-degree burglary, and unlawful entry.
Although a Capitol Police spokeswoman would not provide any additional details regarding who Cosko allegedly “doxed”, his arrest followed the posting on Wikipedia of personal details, including home addresses and phone numbers, of Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch, both of Utah.
A spokesman for Lee confirmed his office had spoken with Capitol Police, but “that is all the information we can share.”
The postings were made during last week’s heated Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. The panel last week listened to testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing him of a 1982 sexual assault. Graham, Lee and Hatch all sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee and back Kavanaugh.
Glenn Rushing, Jackson Lee’s chief of staff, told the Washington Examiner that Cosko had been working as an intern and had been fired. “It is an ongoing investigation and we are cooperating with authorities,” he said.
Cosko is listed in the 2018 Senate directory phone book as Sen. Maggie Hassan’s legislative correspondent/systems administrator, and a LinkedIn profile for somebody with the same name states he left the New Hampshire Democrat’s office in May. Cosko was also listed as a staff member for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee on a Dear Colleague letter the Texas Democrat circulated last month.
The malicious edits, first reported by a Twitter bot that documents changes made to Wikipedia from Congress, have since been removed. The bot found that the changes were made from a computer on Capitol Hill on the House of Representatives side.
White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah last week slammed the release of lawmakers’ personal information as “outrageous.”
Cosko remains in custody. The Capitol Police said: “The investigation will continue and additional charges may be forthcoming.”