Thursday, August 11, 2016

Crown Forum Publicity Office alerted by e-mail
of alleged plagiarism by “author” Michelle Fields

Below is the verbatim e-mail I sent to Crown Forum’s publicity office* at Random House [] on Wednesday, August 10, 2016:

SUBJECT: Likely plagiarism by Crown author in form of “refactoring”

To the publisher of “Barons of the Beltway: Inside the Princely World of Our Washington Elite—and How to Overthrow Them”

Dear Sir or Madam:

In case you have not yet been alerted, serious allegations of plagiarism — in the form of the refactoring of others’ work without citations, in lieu of original work of her own — are being made on the Internet about the Michelle Fields book referenced above, which Crown Forum published and continues to market.

As a writer myself, I find this extremely offensive, as I know how difficult and laborious it is to originate good work, and even harder to get it published. When word of this gets out to your other authors, and it will, I can assure you they will not take this lightly. If true, as Crown Forum authors, their work and reputations will be diminished by their association with a publisher of plagiarism. If it is true, I hope Crown Forum will recall the book immediately and refund all purchases, regardless of how few copies have been sold.

To my best knowledge, this discovery was made, and news of it first published, by attorney Travis Miller, attorney Mike Cernovich of, and Charles C. Johnson, CEO of, two of whom are copied on this e-mail.

The evidence given of this alleged fraud (see links below) include numerous samples of Fields’ work side-by-side with the work of others.

As you will see, the samples do not show lengthy, wholesale “word for word” copying, but rather highly suspicious re-writing of the samples that strongly suggest:
  1. Fields did not originate the ideas in her passages;
  2. Fields is not conversant in the subjects she is writing about;
  3. Fields found passages written by others with the same ideas and often identical phrasing; and
  4. Fields merely re-factored these passages by restating others’ phrases using different words, but not enough to cover her tracks and hide her plagiarism;
  5. Fields passed off the work as her own, without credit to others.
I myself found such a passage on my first attempt. At, I found her book, clicked on “Look Inside” and “Surprise Me” to find random pages. I Googled phases from the first paragraph I found and discovered a paragraph in a Wikipedia article that was very similar, and included several of the same ideas and phrases in the same short passage.

Further evidence that Fields did not truly “author” this work is her complete lack of knowledge of her book when confronted on television by Steve Malzberg (view here:

I hope you will take these allegations seriously, and forward this e-mail to the appropriate officers and staff of your company, as independent associates and researchers of this story will surely be contacting board members, senior staff, and Crown Forum authors, and publicizing this story widely on social media, including news of Crown’s response to these allegations.

Thank you for your attention. You may contact me by reply e-mail.


Paul Klenk
[e-mail address redacted]


cc: Michael Cernovich, Charles C. Johnson

* Author’s note: This alert was sent to, an address widely published at official current Crown Forum and Random House Web sites and press releases. Delivery failed to that account. The e-mail to the address was sent successfully.