Election 2014

Cambridge Employees Say They Ran GOP Campaigns in 2014

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

United States election law says foreign nationals may not make strategic decisions or provide analysis for American campaigns, but that's exactly what Cambridge Analytica did in 2014 according to former employees.

Former employees who shared documents with the Washington Post say they effectively controlled the campaigns of a number of Republican candidates during the 2014 midterm election cycle.

Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group were overwhelmingly staffed by non-U.S. citizens — mainly Canadians, Britons and other Europeans — at least 20 of whom fanned out across the United States in 2014 to work on congressional and legislative campaigns, the three former Cambridge workers said.

Many of those employees and contractors were involved in helping to decide what voters to target with political messages and what messages to deliver to them, the former workers said. Their tasks ran the gamut of campaign work, including “managing media relations” as well as fundraising, planning events, and providing “communications strategy” and “talking points, speeches [and] debate prep,” according to a document touting the firm’s 2014 work.

Cambridge whistleblower Christopher Wylie also told the Washington Post that they had reason to believe the company lied on immigration documents given to employees they sent to the United States to advise the campaigns.

We don't know if that's true, but internal documents reviewed by the Washington Post show that the company sent 41 employees to the United States during the 2014 election cycle and spent at least $7.5 million on the program. Those employees reportedly worked for Republicans in Oregon, Colorado, and North Carolina.

In North Carolina, Cambridge was reportedly hired by GOP director Dallas Woodhouse who you may recognize as one of the biggest assholes in the whole country. Woodhouse ran point for the state GOP's racist voter suppression campaign and gerrymandering.

It appears Woodhouse was receiving help from foreign agents at the same time he was doing everything in his power to suppress black voters. And I'm sure he thinks of himself as a "Real American."

  • ninjaf

    *crosses fingers* Please let their be blow back on this that includes jail time. I would even like to see Tillis negated as Senator or have to resign or something. With a Democratic governor, it would be nice to be able to get “D” appointed and sway the balance in the Senate just a bit more.

  • Badgerite

    What a surprise. I’m soooo shocked. Shocked I tell you.

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  • Aynwrong

    A political party that has defined itself as more patriotic than thou for longer than I’ve been alive (43 years; ugh…) farming out it’s political strategizing to a foreign company.

    The GOP has weaponized hypocrisy.

  • muselet

    Given the rules-are-for-other-people attitude prevalent in the GOP, I can easily imagine some campaign manager or party leader (state or national) telling Cambridge Analytica, “Sure, let’s see you do your magic.”

    Did it happen? That’s a tough one. CA has an apparently well-deserved reputation for overstating its abilities and results. For that reason, most campaigns want nothing to do with the company; however, that attitude might not be universal.

    Don’t get me wrong, CA has meddled in elections in the developing world as proof-of-concept work. It’s possible CA will work out the right formula for maximum electoral effect (with what seems to be the enthusiastic cooperation of Facebook). The company’s pretty open about wanting that capability.

    This is certainly a story to keep an eye on. It’s also a story Robert Mueller’s people might want to take a close look at.