Hackers have reportedly stolen millions of dollars from the Republican Party of Wisconsin. In total, according to a new report from the Associated Press, the hackers siphoned off $2.3 million of the Wisconsin Republican Party’s money. According to the state’s Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt, the hacking operation hinged on the alteration of invoices that were used in the payment process for vendors for the Wisconsin state GOP. Apparently, the hackers made changes to the invoices to redirect money from the Republican Party’s actual vendors to the hackers’ own personal accounts. When the state GOP dished out its money, the funds went to the hackers instead of their intended recipients.
Hitt says that the Wisconsin state GOP “noticed the suspicious activity on Oct. 22 and contacted the FBI on Friday,” as the Associated Press explains, and the FBI is apparently now investigating the matter, although they did not respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press. Hitt also insisted that there’s “no doubt” that the Republican Party of Wisconsin “is now at a disadvantage with that money being gone.” There’s no apparent indication of the identity of the person or persons who targeted the Wisconsin Republican Party and siphoned off millions of dollars of their funds. The vendors who the state GOP were trying to pay had provided services like pro-Trump direct mail campaigns and hats for the president and party’s backers.
The Wisconsin incident emerged in the news shortly after Donald Trump’s own campaign website was hacked and defaced by a hacker or hackers who claimed to have compromised private devices that gave them access to Trump family communications. There’s no apparent indication that they actually did so; the hacking operation seems to have been a cryptocurrency scam. A message that the hackers temporarily placed on the website directed readers to send cryptocurrency (web-based currency) to a certain recipient if they wanted to “know the truth.”
Meanwhile, Wisconsin ended up very close in the final election results in 2016, and the state’s presidential election results could again end up close this time around. In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin over then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by less than one percent. Now, with days until Election Day, Biden leads in Wisconsin polls by an average of 8.5 percent as of early Thursday, according to FiveThirtyEight. A recent ABC News/ Washington Post survey had Biden in the lead in the state by a stunning 17 percent. In 2008, Barack Obama and Joe Biden won Wisconsin by almost 14 percent — so there’s a precedent for this kind of huge winning margin for the Democratic candidate.