Ted Cruz’s Payment To Crooked Trump Data Firm Exposed; Millions Spent Defrauding America

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Stories about the integrity of the 2016 U.S. presidential election aren’t going to be going away anytime soon. After months and months of concerns over Russian efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential race, there are now renewed concerns about the activities in the election of a non-Russian interest — Cambridge Analytica, a data firm founded by Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer.

The New York Times recently broke the story about the firm retaining the user data of a massive number of Facebook users — a number in the tens of millions — in order to craft its data-driven campaigning strategies. In the time since that initial reporting, Britain’s Channel 4 has been airing a multi-part series covering its own deep dive on the firm, and the latest part covers the firm’s possibly illegal coordination with the Trump campaign.

After GOP U.S. Senator from Texas Ted Cruz dropped out of the race in early 2016, the firm became the patron saint of the Trump team.

About a year after Trump’s 2016 electoral victory —  in late 2017 and early 2018 — a Channel 4 reporter went undercover to try and probe the depths of the firm’s activities. What that reporter found during his secretly filmed interactions with members of the Cambridge Analytica leadership team is disturbing to say the least, including an apparent willingness on the part of the firm to use bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSPK07PXozY

In one of the latest interactions with the firm’s then-chief executive, Christopher Nix, to be aired by Channel 4, Nix boasted about his firm’s role in getting Donald Trump elected.

Trump won, of course, as is well known by now, via finishing with a leading margin in enough densely populated areas to finish with a winning margin in the electoral college, even though he lost the overall national popular vote.

Speaking of his firm’s role in making that happen, Nix told a Channel 4 reporter posing as a representative of a wealthy family from Sri Lanka:

‘We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy.’

Channel 4 reports on the implications of these comments as follows:

‘Coordination between an official election campaign and any outside groups is illegal under US election law. Cambridge Analytica deny wrongdoing, insisting a strict firewall separated out their activity and that they were transparent about their work on political campaigns and PACs.’

Even though CA unsurprisingly denied wrongdoing — and has suspended Christopher Nix at this point, which could be taken as an effort to prove a commitment to transparency during this ordeal — the comments indicating possibly illegal coordination between the Trump team continue.

For instance, CA official Mark Turnbull was filmed commenting in part as follows:

‘Sometimes you can use proxy organisations who are already there. You feed them… the material and they do the work. We just put information into the bloodstream to the internet and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again over time to watch it take shape. And so this stuff infiltrates the online community and expands but with no branding – so it’s unattributable, untrackable.”

As a further question beyond that of possible illegal coordination with the Trump campaign, Hillary Clinton has questioned whether or not the firm assisted Russian interests in their efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, an allegation that Cambridge Analytica denies.

Still, outside of the issues associated with this particular firm, there remain questions to be answered about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election — questions the president has not shown a commitment to uncovering the answers to, to say the least.

Featured Image via OLIVIER DOULIERY/ AFP/ Getty Images