Scam PACs are Taking Democrats for a Ride  

Shady political PACs, anonymous Twitter accounts, and charlatans are spreading disinformation while monetizing from social media. How an American social media grift is siphoning money from Democratic candidates’ coffers.

It’s the season for hucksters. Millions of Americans, alarmed over President Donald Trump, his administration, and its controversial actions,  are reaching into their wallets to help anybody who claims to be able to help rid him from office.

But not all of the people and groups soliciting funds necessarily benefit the “resistance.” Some just want to cash in on this dissatisfaction.

So-called Scam PACs are a concern, warned current Federal Election Commission (FEC) chairwoman Ellen Weintraub and former commissioner Ann Ravel in a September 2016 memorandum

The commissioners define the term as “political committees that collect political contributions frequently using the name of a candidate, but which spend little to none of the proceeds on political activity benefiting that candidate.” 

The current political climate is ripe for hucksters, warned the Brennan Center for Justice, and in May reported on several conservative PACs busted for such activities.  

A cottage industry of “resistance” social media celebrities has flourished under the Trump administration. 

“They’re cashing in on the collective uncertainty we’ve been in since November 2016,” says Aram Sinnreich, chair of communication studies at American University. “Some of them are more ethical than others — some have actual expertise — others are straight up disinformation propaganda or opportunistic nothings.”

Mad Dog PAC

One example is Mad Dog, a Democratic PAC founded and chaired by Claude Taylor, registered with the FEC on December 13, 2017. Taylor goes by the pompous Twitter handle @TrueFactsStated. He is a self-proclaimed bomb-thrower and, according to his Twitter header, a “Liberal Provocateur”. 

With over 219,000 Twitter followers, and close to 18,000 Facebook friends, Taylor spends most of his days tweeting samples of Mad Dog merchandise to troll the President and prominent Republicans.

The PAC’s motto, featured on Mad Dog’s website, is “Go. Fight. Win.” Yet it’s uncertain as to who, besides Taylor, is actually winning.

Over the past 18 months, $1.1 million has been donated to Mad Dog PAC. Taylor has paid himself $101,153 for “fundraising services,” not counting numerous expenses for vehicle repairs, lodging, boat rentals, Apple products, his cell phone bill, airfare, dining expenses, and hundreds of dollars spent at an Ashburn, GA, gas station.

Operating similarly to Tea Party Scam PACs, Mad Dog spends a significant amount on overhead, paying multiple vendors and consultants — with no money donated to candidates.

Per its 2018 year-end filing, Mad Dog PAC collected over $900,000 (around $680,000 of which came from small, non-itemized donors). 

Taylor spent $350,000 on independent expenditures. Out of the $550,000 on operating expenditures, Taylor pocketed over $70,000 for “fundraising services.” Additionally, Taylor paid $12,758 in donor money on late-filing penalties. And $188,000 went toward merchandising.

According to the FEC’s latest mid-year filing, over the past six months, Mad Dog collected $214,684 ($159,486 of which came from small donors.) It spent $17,600 on independent expenditures and dedicated $187,532 to operating expenditures. Taylor pocketed $30,579.

But the PAC appears to be insolvent. As of June 30, Mad Dog reported debts totaling $78,681.40 owed to FII Marketing, a merchandising company in Rhode Island.

The author reached out to Taylor for comment. He responded he would need to check with his accountant, and hung up the phone.

Merchandise, Billboards, and Balloons

Taylor also appears to be involved in an international merchandising venture.

FEC deputy press agency spokesman Christian Hilland confirmed Taylor is listed as the resident agent of what appears to be a for-profit limited liability company that sells Mad Dog PAC merchandise overseas. Registered in Maryland on July 17, 2018, No Prior Restraint, LLC, reported to the FEC over $29,000 in disbursements from August to October 2018. 

Taylor has stated he intends to use the company’s proceeds to fund an anti-Putin billboard in Ukraine, a country already fraught with election integrity corruption. FEC laws state that campaigns may not solicit or accept contributions from foreign nationals, prohibiting contributions, donations, expenditures, and disbursements solicited, directed, received or made directly or indirectly by or from foreign nationals.

However, according to Hilland, “committees are permitted to make payments to foreign-owned companies for bona fide services rendered to the campaign.” 

LLCs have become an expansive vehicle for hiding foreign donations. Up until August 10, Michael L. Higgs, Maryland’s director of the Department of Assessments and Taxation, had deemed No Prior Restraint, LLC, a company not in good standing, for failing to comply with state reporting requirements. Therefore, it’s impossible to determine how Mad Dog’s foreign donations are being used and who it’s influencing.

Although FEC laws permit PACs to apply donations to cover such expenses as Mad Dog’s, Taylor’s inconsistent and seemingly unscrupulous fundraising tactics don’t allow full transparency into how much he’s raised and how he’s applied donor money.

For example, Taylor has used his online celebrity status to earn significant cash through a series of crowdfunding campaigns, which fly under FEC reporting guidelines. In May 2017, he collected $18,060 from a GoFundMe campaign, having asked his followers for help with multiple vehicle repairs.

Later that year, he received $24,750 from another GoFundMe campaign to pay for legal fees he anticipated while goading his followers in an online harassment crusade against journalist Cassandra Fairbanks. Fairbanks filed the lawsuit on September 5, 2017.

Taylor solicited donations directing his followers to send checks and money orders made payable to the Claude Taylor Legal Defense Fund, addressed to his counselor, Dirk Schwenk, an Annapolis, MD, maritime lawyer and musician. Taylor plugged his online photography business website,, where followers — particularly those overseas — could donate to his legal fund via PayPal.

Fairbanks charged Taylor harassed her online, calling her a “cam girl,” “sex cam worker,” “web porn girl,” and “escort,” instructing his followers to Google inappropriate photos of her — taken when she was 17 — that were ultimately removed from the internet

On October 24 Taylor announced that Fairbanks had dropped the suit. He claimed he donated portions of his legal fund: $5,000 to the Virgin Islands hurricane relief effort, $2,000 to Democratic candidates, and left $8,500 to his lawyer’s trust.

Fairbanks’s lawsuit includes the names of Taylor’s alleged co-conspirators, who — in addition to his enabling followers — may deserve much credit for his Twitter celebrity status and financial success. Referred to as a “cadre of citizen journalists,” the list of names in court documents includes Louise Mensch (289,000 followers), John Schindler (272,000 followers), and the anonymous Twitter account @Counterchekist (106,000 followers).

According to Fairbanks’s lawsuit, this online group collectively refer to themselves as “The Scooby Gang” and “Team Patriot.” Despite numerous articles outlining the blatantly false conspiracy theories peddled by Team Patriot, they retain a large online following.

Labeled “resistance grifters,” “resistance hucksters, and “rogues of the resistance,” the primary characters of Team Patriot have profited from the fears and hopes of hundreds of thousands of Americans concerned about the current political climate.

Taylor emerged as something of a folk hero to the online resistance crowd. He garnered his fame by touting his career in the Clinton White House as a staffer and a veteran of three presidential campaigns.

In a June 2017 radio interview, Taylor claimed his proximity to the White House afforded him access to the inside workings of the legal and intelligence communities.

An apparent example of the FEC’s definition of “scam PAC” is Mad Dog’s Adopt-a-Dem campaign. Taylor and his Mad Dog accounts tweet images of Taylor’s preferred candidates photoshopped into PAC-emblemed memes, without donating any of the proceeds to the actual candidates.

Mad Dog designed Warhol-esque T-shirts featuring the faces of Democratic candidates Taylor deems worthy of promoting: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Kamala Harris (CA), former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttegieg, and former Vice President Joe Biden. 

None of the proceeds have been donated to those candidates — or any other candidate.

Does Mad Dog’s Negative Messaging Benefit Democratic Candidates or Claude Taylor?

Mad Dog spends its PAC money on negative billboards trolling Trump and other Republican politicians. In December 2017 he began a crowdfunding campaign to fund his first project, collecting $6,199 to pay for a $5,000 billboard.

Last May, Taylor commissioned a billboard targeting Louisiana’s Republican Congressman Steve Scalise, captioned “Steve Scalise LOVED voting away your healthcare. TAKE HIM OUT!” Not even a year prior, Scalise had been the victim of a mass shooting during a practice for a congressional baseball game in Alexandria, VA, and nearly died.

Taylor gained online celebrity status and attention from the press after applying PAC money toward a giant, inflatable rat designed to look like Trump. He hoists it onto a truck he drives around, as well as onto chartered boats he uses to troll Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Taylor applied PAC donations toward a New Year’s Eve trip to Florida last year to protest Trump, even after learning that the president wouldn’t be staying at his resort. Mad Dog sells “Rat Boat” cruise tickets, chartering luxury cruise liners complete with a cash bar, plus the opportunity to take selfies with Taylor. PAC money is used to fuel, repair, and operate the vehicles.

In May, the Guardian published an opinion piece on the effectiveness of negative billboards targeting conservative pro-Brexit leaders, specifically those erected by the UK activist group, Led By Donkeys. Columnist Dawn Foster doubted that billboards change opinions: 

“If the people targeted don’t feel embarrassment or shame for their chosen statements, and there’s no evidence any of them have, then you’re simply spending large sums of money to publicize their views across the country.”

Tier One

Monetizing McCarthyism: How an international Twitter clique grifts off the Resistance.

Team Patriot’s notoriety is based upon the false notion that the mainstream media are too dumb and lazy to report facts. The group has convinced hundreds of thousands of followers that they have secret, inside intelligence sources, while insisting Robert Mueller’s report would result in the imprisonment of President Trump.

They developed a Twitter blocklist, using the BlockTogether app, blocking over 700,000 accounts to create an echo chamber.

The group’s notion is that everything is fine, there’s no need to worry, Mueller’s got this.

Authors, scholars, and media hosts who express fear, fatigue, or concern about the current administration are labeled “despair deza” (slang for the Russian term Dezinformatsiya).

They’ve instigated conspiracy theories claiming the March for Truth, the Black Lives Matter movement, the Ferguson uprising, and the Resistance were Russian disinformation campaigns.

Anyone who questions the group is placed on a blocklist, after being trolled and harassed by hordes of Team Patriot members.

Members of Team Patriot coordinate to discredit those who question their efforts and credibility. They engage in online harassment against their enemies, often labeling them Russian assets, trolls, or secret members of the alt-right. Their tactics are similar to Russia’s FSB and Lyndon LaRouche’s cult.

They have maligned Kennan Institute global fellow, scholar, and author Nina Jankowicz; author and scholar Christopher Stroop; author, scholar, and podcast host Sarah Kendzior; author Andrea Chalupa; DNC strategist Alexandra Chalupa; journalist and investigative researcher Olga Lautman; US Navy senior chief petty officer, Naval cryptologist, and author Malcom Nance; MSNBC host and author Joy Reid; US Navy reservist, Department of Defense intelligence officer, and author Naveed Jamali; MSNBC host, author, journalist, and editor Chris Hayes; Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Anthony Corrmier; and investigative journalist, author, and Editor-in-Chief and founder of WhoWhatWhy Russ Baker.

Louise Mensch is the self-proclaimed leader of the group. She has labeled over 200 people, including credible journalists and scholars, as Russian agents. She operates multiple accounts, including @TrumpRussiaHits (2,335 followers), @AltNellGwynn (256 followers), and @Patribotics (26k followers) where she publishes her much-criticized Patribotics blog, offering multiple links for readers to donate.

Mensch launched the site in January 2017, and according to dozens of journalists is labeled a conspiracy theorist.

Mensch got her literary start as a writer of chick-lit novels under her maiden name Bagshawe.

Born in the UK, the pro-Brexit conservative developed an affinity for politics during her youth. She was elected to serve as the Conservative MP for Corby in the 2010 general election. She resigned in 2012 and moved to New York to live with her second husband, Peter Mensch, a successful rock band manager.

Peter Mensch’s second ex-wife, Melissa Meyer, accused Louise of carrying on an adulterous, 20-year affair with her husband, while Louise was married to businessman Anthony LoCicero. Peter Mensch filed for divorce in November 2017.

In June 2012, while still serving as MP, Mensch partnered with former Labour Party digital adviser Luke Bozier to develop the social networking site Menschn. The platform was intended to rival Twitter, designed to host political commentary, but was largely scrutinized by IT experts for failing to adhere to password security standards. Bozier denied the claims, but ultimately updated the site, adhering to security protocols.

Six months after Menschn’s launch, Bozier was arrested, after hackers alleged they discovered inappropriate photos of young girls posted by Bozier on his website,

After his December 7 arrest, Mensch had tweeted that she reported the incident to police, announcing Bozier’s resignation.

But Mensch hadn’t contacted Bozier directly. Bozier, who was released on bail, argued that the photos were not sexually explicit, that they featured young models dressed in swimwear. He claimed his personal email had been compromised by individuals who took over his domain.

But the pedophilia accusations and media scrutiny destroyed the 27-year-old’s marriage and relationship with his two young children. He felt betrayed by Mensch, and believes she took advantage of him during a vulnerable time when he was suffering from mental stress. He shut down his social media accounts, and Menschn ultimately collapsed less than a year later in February 2013.

More strangely, Bozier’s website had been taken over by controversial alt-right Mensch pal and fellow conspiracy theorist Milo Yiannopoulos, who broke the story of Bozier’s arrest on his now defunct online media site, The Kernel.

Yiannopoulos — ironically, a defender of pedophilia — launched his American career by seeking to monetize the infamous 2014 Gamergate scandal, despite publicly shaming female gamers as “overweight” and “embarrassing”.

Gamergate was a harrassment effort aimed at liberal-minded female video game developers and gamers who were viciously doxed and threatened with rape and murder by anonymous online users.

Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter in July 2016, after directing a series of racist and misogynistic tweets to actress Leslie Jones.

Mensch received the attention of controversial Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch. During her brief political career, Mensch was appointed to serve on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in 2010. She interrogated Murdoch and his son James during the infamous News of the World phone hacking scandal investigation.

Employees of the now defunct Murdoch-owned newspaper were accused of hacking, bribery, and unethical practices to gain story headlines. Mensch was accused of offering softball questions and proposing amendments that ultimately exonerated the Murdoch family.

Mensch abused her Parliamentary privilege to falsify claims that journalist Piers Morgan was part of the criminal hacking effort. She later apologized to Morgan, saying she had misread a news article.

Mensch scored a job working for Murdoch’s News Corporation. She and NY-based editor and journalist Noah Kotch launched the conservative, tabloid-style publication Heat Street in February 2014.

To compete against the likes of Breitbart, a spokesperson for Heat Street asserted the platform would offer “no safe spaces.”

It was reported Murdoch had soured on the project. Mensch resigned from Heat Street in January 2017, and launched her conspiracy blog Patribotics soon after. Heat Street ultimately folded six months later.

In 2015, Mensch was publicly scrutinized while writing for Murdoch’s UK tabloid The Sun.

In a series of 20 Tweets, Mensch bullied 17-year-old Abby Tomlinson, who founded the online Milifandom campaign in support of then–UK Labour Party leader Ed Miliband. Mensch repeatedly made false accusations that Tomlinson had stolen the campaign idea, threatening to pen a negative article about the young girl in The Sun. Former Labour Party deputy leader John Prescott chastised Mensch for breaching Independent Press Standards Organization’s code on harassment.

Mensch has invented some wild, off-the-wall conspiracies. “‘Trump’s Presidency Ended May 9th’ – Hatch Getting Security Briefings,” published May 13, 2017, insisted Trump was to be impeached and replaced with then–Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (R), who stood third in line to the presidency. She reported that Hatch was already receiving official security briefings, and that Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and then–House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) would be charged with a multitude of crimes.

After launching her Patribotics blog, Mensch admitted she didn’t want to be subject to an editing process, stating, “Editors would ask: who are your sources? And I can’t tell them.”

In fact, Mensch has been caught editing her blog posts after they’ve been published, without formally announcing corrections.

For example, her original “Carolina Conspiracy” story, dated February 14, 2017, reported that former NY Congressman Anthony Weiner had been catfished by a Russian hacker, who had planted Hillary Clinton’s emails onto Weiner’s laptop. After news reports confirmed Weiner pleaded guilty to sexting an American 15-year-old girl, Mensch updated her blog on August 22.

This was also the case with an August 2017 “PIMPOTUS – Trump Models and Russia’s Human Traffickers” blog she and Mad Dog PAC founder Claude Taylor co-authored. A hoaxer, who had grown tired of Team Patriot’s incessant lies, had sent Taylor a false tip.

She claimed her name was “Caitlin,” and that she worked in law enforcement. In an email, she told Taylor the NY Attorney General’s Office was investigating Trump’s inactive modeling agency for possible sex trafficking.

The hoaxer wrote, “I am aware of at least one preliminary sealed indictment in that case targeting multiple Trump Org principals. Proceeding under the NY version of a RICO statute,” referring to the federal Racketeering Influence and Corruption Organization Act.

Taylor ran with it, tweeting “From NYAG Schneiderman source, “’I am aware of at least one sealed indictment targeting multiple Trump Organization Principals.’” Again, he tweeted, “In point of fact, the NYAG is using New York’s ‘Enterprise Corruption’ statutes which are that State’s RICO corollary.”

When thousands of followers pressed Taylor for more information, he fabricated another lie — one that hadn’t come from the hoaxer tweeting, “I have few details but apparently the possibility exists that our president has been a sex trafficker. That’s frowned upon.”

The Guardian reported the entire exchange, including the emails and all of the Tweets repeated by Taylor and Mensch.

In an email, the hoaxer admitted, “Taylor asked no questions to verify my identity, did no vetting whatsoever, sought no confirmation from a second source – but instead asked leading questions to support his various theories, asking me to verify them.”

Taylor issued a mea culpa following the publication of the article. Yet Mensch remained defiant, replying, “I don’t think anybody can vet anybody else’s sources.”

John Schindler is a conservative author, journalist, and former National Security Agency intelligence analyst. In 2014, Schindler resigned from his professorial position at the US Naval War College after a report confirmed he shared a picture of his flaccid penis with a female who was not his wife.

After the incident broke headlines, Schindler took a hiatus from social media, but continued writing on his blog.

Schindler monetizes a locked Twitter account @Thespybrief (2,155 followers), which he erroneously asserts is “troll and bot free,” charging his followers $10 a month, despite not holding a security clearance in over five years.

Schindler currently writes for Jared Kushner’s family-trust-owned New York Observer.

In a December 10, 2018, opinion piece for the New York Observer, Schindler claimed, “President Trump Really May Go to Jail — For the Rest of His Life.” He reasserted the sentiment often, tweeting, “My latest BOOM! ===> Remember when I told you ‘He will die in jail’ c/o my IC friends? YEAH….THAT”

Schindler also penned numerous articles for the National Interest, published by Moscow emigre Dimitri Simes. Simes’s activities were scrutinized in Robert Mueller’s Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference of the 2016 Presidential Election.

Coordinating with members of Trump’s campaign, Simes helped arrange the infamous Mayflower Hotel meeting with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and developed close ties with Jared Kushner.

Simes offered pro-Russia advice, helping Trump by peddling rumors about Hillary and Bill Clinton. Serving as an informal foreign-policy adviser to Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon, Simes was appointed in 1994 to lead a Washington, DC, foreign-policy think tank, now known as the Center for National Interest.

Mueller’s report cleared Simes of any wrongdoing, however; his ties with Russian Central Bank official, Alexander Torshin, remain under investigation by the Senate Finance Committee.

Counterchekist is an anonymous Twitter profile who coordinates with Taylor, Mensch, Schindler, and the rest of Team Patriot’s clique.

Counterchekist’s avatar features a patriotic photo of a bald eagle, captioned with the word “SOON,” insinuating Trump’s presidency is nearing the end.

The pinned tweet on his account reads, “Bipartisanship exists. @TheRickWilson & I are GOP. @TrueFactsStated is a Democrat. I’m proud to stand with both.”

Counterchekist claims to be a US Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and was shot, stabbed, and hit with IEDs (improvised explosive devices). He claims his injuries were so severe it forced his unfortunate, early retirement from service.

Further, Counterchekist ascertains he has a legal background, an IC clearance, and has viewed alleged tapes of Trump, filmed in the Moscow Ritz Carlton Hotel, engaging in lurid sexual acts.

For over two years, Counterchekist has tweeted a series of numbered “Feathers” references— which speculate the unsealing of criminal indictments of Trump and members of his administration and campaign.

Some online followers have even developed a Feathers spreadsheet. Most oddly, Mensch has referred to Counterchekist as “Mr. President,” and she and her followers refer to him as “sir,” thanking him for saving the Republic.

In May 2017, Counterchekist tweeted, “Yes. There’s already sealed indictments. A lot of them. NY AG is coming at Trump & co like a Velociraptor. It’s coming.”

An online investigator, who goes by the Twitter name Fraude, has been observing Team Patriot’s shenanigans since their earliest inception.

Fraude was also the source for Will Sommers’s Daily Beast article revealing the identity of another nefarious online fraud, who went by the handle @GuardianRover, AKA, Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith also claimed to have secret intelligence sources, and like Counterchekist, was boosted by Team Patriot’s biggest accounts.

As it turns out, Counterchekist is none of the things he claims to be. The guy behind the account is allegedly named Rich Guinn, who, like the Mr. Smith profile, is an avid gamer. According to Fraude, Guinn lives with his mom, sells surfboards for a living, and enjoys participating in war reenactments. The details of how Fraude determined Rich Guinn’s alleged identity can be read on this thread.

Who is Spicy Files?

Spicy Files is the official Mad Dog blogger whose posts are featured on Claude Taylor’s PAC website. Spicy Files ranks high atop Team Patriot’s food chain.

She’s operated numerous Twitter accounts: @Spicerlies, @Alt_Spicerlies, @SpicyFilesredux, @MicLurvesSpicy, @DCFederalist78, @MaddogSpicy @DCSwampland and @swhoa_bod.

At one point Spicy Files had over 200K followers. Her accounts have been suspended several times for targeted harassment, and she was ultimately IP banned from Twitter on February 23 for managing multiple accounts for abusive purposes.

Consistent with much of Team Patriot’s con, Spicy Files’ legal expertise is grossly exaggerated. Team Patriot’s ringleaders passionately defend and boost Spicy Files’ work.

Louise Mensch, Team Patriot’s self-appointed leader and chief conspiracy theorist, unsurprisingly blames the Russians for Spicy Files’ multiple suspensions.

However, Spicy Files managed to evade her suspension — possibly operating under a VPN — and returned to Twitter in June under the handle @File511 (3,367 followers). Spicy Files also has accounts on Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, and her posts are shared on Facebook.

Designated as Team Patriot’s “legal eagle,” Spicy Files spends several hours a day on Twitter, interpreting legal documents she downloads from Pacer. She maintains a narcissistic, combative tone, blocking anyone who questions her validity or research.

In fact, Spicy Files created her own blocklist which included more accounts than Team Patriot’s BlockTogether app.

Just a few of the 700k Twitter accounts targeted by Team Patriot’s #BlockedbyChiefCovfefe BlockTogether list.

Each blog post includes a donation option. It’s uncertain whether Mad Dog PAC shares profits or donations to compensate Spicy Files for her work.

At least fifteen Twitter accounts indicated they’ve donated to Mad Dog PAC to compensate Spicy Files for her efforts, including and especially Claude Taylor and her staunchest ally, Louise Mensch.

Spicy Files’ blog posts are often written with grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors, in a sometimes-incoherent syntax.

While using emojis and colloquial terms, Spicy Files also writes in formal legal prose, and her followers have commented they don’t understand what she’s trying to communicate. It appears Spicy Files operates in a similar fashion to Louise Mensch — without the guidance of an editorial staff.

Louise Mensch, February 2017,
The Guardian

Spicy Files has gotten much wrong in her legal analysis.

Her earliest blunder occurred in early 2017 when she helped spread a rumor that the Eastern District of Virginia Courthouse had been shut down. Claude Taylor tweeted, “More BREAKING. The basement of the EDVA was described as resembling a ‘judicial Armada’ with a dozen or more FBI and US Marshals vans.” It was a lie. The court had not been closed. There was no mass unsealing of indictments.

On September 19, 2017, she stated Paul Manafort’s primary residence in 1990 was at the Oronoco, in Alexandria, VA. The building wasn’t constructed until 2014, and Manafort hadn’t purchased his condominium until 2015. Manafort’s primary residence in 1990 was in Alexandria, Virginia, near Mount Vernon Estate.

On November 8, 2017, Spicy Files alluded to a court case involving a Virginia property owner, stating she didn’t suspect the case pertained to Robert Mueller’s investigation. She guessed the case didn’t involve Paul Manafort, and listed President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and/or Eric Trump as possible defendants. The court case she referenced did in fact involve Manafort, as his realtor, Wayne Holland, who sold him the Oronoco property in 2015, testified before a federal grand jury in late October that same year. She also referenced the wrong DC US District Court opinions, as they relate to attorney/client privilege, not real estate.

In early November 2017, she tweeted court documents relating to a case originally filed August 11, 2017: City and County of San Francisco vs. Jefferson B. Sessions (then Trump’s Attorney General). She uploaded “Stipulation and [Proposed] Order for Continuance of Time to Respond to Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgement.” The document states, “Plaintiff’s deadline to respond to Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgement shall be continued for two weeks (14 days) after the Court issues its ruling in the City and County of San Francisco,” dated November 13, 2017. Spicy Files asserted the defendants had “until November 29 to respond (adding one day, calculating for Veteran’s Day).” She was wrong. The response date was 14 days from the Court’s Motion for Summary Judgement ruling, which had not yet occurred. Even if it had, she was still wrong, miscalculating the date, which would have been November 27. Also, Veteran’s Day was observed on November 10 in 2017, which she missed.

That same month, Spicy Files referenced a “sealed indictment” she discovered in “tax court” on Pacer.

There are multiple errors in Spicy Files’ statements. The screenshot she posts reveals a docket filed in DC’s US District Court of Appeals — an appeal to a tax court decision, not a federal indictment. Indictments are not handled in tax courts. Additionally, Spicy Files’ reference to “indictment” was wrong, since it’s impossible to know until it’s actually unsealed.

November 2017, she tweeted, “New because local rules matter. If you have not sought Leave from the Court, you can not file motions as an intervenor because you are NOT party or a ‘friend’ of the Court. Judge Berman’s minute order is incredibly generous unnamed intervenor: stop trying to hijack this case.” Again, she was wrong, as detailed in the Minute Order she posted. It is illegal for anyone to intervene in a criminal case.

In her August 13, 2018, blog post, Spicy Files incorrectly refers to the Code of Federal Regulations as a “source of statues.”

On January 11, she posted legal documents, and in a tweet, described them as “Despotion Transcript.”

In March, she tweeted a semi-incoherent blog, lambasting political and legal pundits about the speculated release of Robert Mueller’s report. In January, it was reported that Mueller’s grand jury had been issued a six-month extension. Spicy Files referenced “local rules” regulating the extension of the grand jury. The local rules she cited do not pertain to DC’s District Court.

Later that month, Spicy Files cited the statute governing jurisdiction over a person “who conceived or fathered a child” in Virginia (8.01-328.1(A)(8)(iii) and wrongly applied it to Devin Nunes’ VA lawsuit.

In her July 9 blog post, she references the Federal District Circuit Court of Appeals. There’s no such thing.

In August, Spicy Files opined why Eastern District of Virginia’s Judge Anthony Trenga had not yet issued final judgement in a case involving Michael Flynn’s Turkish contact. The reason there’s no final judgment is because under the federal criminal rules, specifically 32(k), judgment is entered after sentencing, which is set for October.

She also linked the incorrect law.

That same month, Spicy Files cited the incorrect laws that govern vacancies within the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The Director is appointed by the US Attorney General. Therefore, the laws she cited do not refer to an executive “whose appointment to office is required to be made by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate” under 5 USC 3345”.

The most disturbing blog post, dated February 23, was written after Twitter had IP banned her account.

In an aberrant, blasphemous screed, Spicy Files suggested certain Twitter accounts were responsible for her ban, and were guilty of un-American, criminal behavior. “The fact is Twitter uses their TOS in an egregiously capricious and arbitrary way. There’s minimal consistently. Thereby it enables the impetuosity of a certain serial troll crew, their malfeasance is actually well documented.”

She includes a conspiracy theory that “trolls” are monetizing from Twitter’s platform, and that they are part of either the alt-right or alt-left movement.

Further, she stated she was pursuing legal options against a series of accounts, and referenced seeking litigation against Twitter in a tweet to Marc Randazza — a civil rights attorney notorious for defending members of the alt-right.

Mensch has suggested Spicy Files should be appointed US Attorney General, and that the FBI reads her work. For example, Mensch tweeted, “Spicy, You worked so hard for two years and you are #USVIA certified too hot to handle. I don’t doubt @fbi reads you on the sly or the not so sly.”

Spicy Files is defensive about retaining her online anonymity, stating those who dox “are criminal losers and intellectually stunted.”

Thanks to Twitter sleuth “Fraude” — who was Will Sommer’s source exposing another Team Patriot charlatan @GuardianRover, AKA Mr. Smith — Spicy Files’ identity was revealed.

Spicy Files claimed to have 15 years’ experience working as a paralegal for a big DC law firm. She claimed to have worked for one of the law firms who turned down representing President Trump. Fraude’s exhaustive research, based on personal information Spicy Files tweeted about herself, determined this was untrue. Her name did not appear in any database of DC-area paralegals. Additionally, she lied about paying out of pocket for Pacer fees.

Spicy Files’ real name is Erika Hodell-Cotti. In 2014, she was arrested and charged with filing a false police report against a neighbor, alleging unfounded claims he had cyber-stalked her. In 2012, she received a warrant for an outstanding debt on her credit card. Ms. Cotti has been ticketed multiple times for improperly operating a vehicle, including reckless driving.

Cotti was the president of a Loudoun County, Virginia Homeowners Association (HOA) and convinced the community she was capable of representing them in a lawsuit against a local broadband company for establishing an unfair monopoly, limiting competition from other telecom providers. A neighboring community filed a similar lawsuit against the same company and won. Not only did Cotti lose the case, but because of her lack of legal expertise, the HOA was countersued for $50M.

The homeowners were penalized and forced to pay exorbitant legal fees, which consequently hindered neighborhood home sales.

Cotti threatened to sue residents for libel and slander after reading about their dissatisfaction on the HOA forums.

She lied to the community, asserting she had resigned from her position, when in fact she had been removed.

Further, Cotti refused to share HOA financial data with a Pakistani neighbor without forcing him to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Cotti labeled him a mole working on behalf of the broadband company, who infiltrated the HOA.

The neighbor represented a concerned community suspicious of Cotti’s lack of transparency and ethics, and was fraudulently penalized with a series of unnecessary fines to prevent him from running for HOA office.

A former Board of Supervisors member provided legal counsel representing the neighbor, advising him not to sign the NDA, asserting Cotti had systematically targeted him. In retaliation, Cotti falsified a police report, intending to libel the neighbor with non-existent cyber-stalking claims, which led to her 2014 arrest.

Cotti even lied about the case to neighbors.

Cotti participated in a County public school zone redistricting effort, despite not having children enrolled in the public school system. She set up social media pages for the community to plan the effort, and then took screenshots of Board of Supervisors’ comments and used them in a lawsuit filed against the County’s public school system.

Loudoun County Public School Board Superintendent Joy Maloney

Cotti is notorious for being a “great divider of the community”, who has drained County resources.

In fact, Cotti has teamed with controversial public-school critic Brian Davison. Davison, who acts as his own attorney, has filed a series of lawsuits against Loudoun County officials.  In 2016, he filed a lawsuit against County school board members and employees of his children’s elementary school.  According to court documents, school staff were forced to issue a no-trespass ban against Davison. The decision to prevent Davison from entering school property was justified by County supervisors and parents rattled by Davison’s erratic behavior at a school open-house event. He shouted a series of expletives, making accusatory and threatening comments toward staff, quoting the film Amereican Sniper. Davison upped his harassment, even targeting the school PTO president, in a series of threatening messages from multiple email accounts. He posted derogatory accusations on national, education-related social media pages. Consequently, school officials beefed up security, recruiting County police. School administrators reinforced safety guidelines, and even posted a “No Weapons Allowed” sign at the front entrance. Davison’s case against the school was ultimately thrown out.

Cotti spread false rumors and lies about elected officials and professionals in the community to destroy their careers, and threatened to file lawsuits against enemies.

Since her days of serving on her local HOA Board, Cotti has claimed to be the victim of multiple unlawful attacks. She’s stated she’s had her research stolen, been hacked, had her debt card racked with charges, , and even received death threats.

Perhaps Ms. Cotti’s legal experience stems from serving as a defendant, rather than a paralegal.

Whether Mensch or Taylor have ever met or formally vetted Spicy Files is unknown, but undoubtedly, she is a perfect fit for Team Patriot.