House Democrats Demand Answers From the Trump Campaign’s Data Firms

The CEO of one firm, Cambridge Analytica, reportedly offered to team up with Wikileaks to find Clinton’s emails.

Shawn Thew/ZUMA

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The top Democrats on the House judiciary and oversight committees have sent a letter to several data analytics companies, including Cambridge Analytica, seeking answers about their involvement in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Cambridge Analytica, which White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has credited with helping secure Trump’s White House victory, has come under increasing scrutiny in connection with ongoing probes into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. This week, the Daily Beast reported that the firm’s CEO Alexander Nix personally reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last year with an offer to help track down a trove of Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. Assange, who declined the offer, confirmed to the Daily Beast that Nix had sent an email with the proposal. 

The firm, where ex-White House strategist Stephen Bannon once served as a vice president, is partly owned by hedge fund mogul and top Trump backer Robert Mercer. The letter on Thursday was also sent to four other companies, including Giles-Parscale. On Tuesday, the House intelligence committee interviewed that company’s co-founder, Brad Parscale, about Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“The prospect that any American company may have aided a foreign government, worked with hostile foreign actors, or benefitted from unlawfully accessed information is concerning and could impact the consideration of ongoing legislation,” the letter, signed by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), reads. “Accordingly, we ask that you provide information and documents in response to the following questions.”

The Trump campaign has since attempted to downplay its work with the company, which it reportedly paid $5.9 million, making it its top vendor. ‚ÄúLeading into the election, the RNC had invested in the most sophisticated data-targeting program in modern American history, which helped secure our victory in the fall,” Trump campaign director Michael Glassner said in a statement Wednesday. “We were proud to have worked with the RNC and its data experts and relied on them as our main source for data analytics.”

Read the full letter here:

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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