RNC pledges $20 million to build data sharing operation

The Republican National Committee is planning to spend up to $20 million to build a data-sharing platform that aims to cut the Democratic Party's data-mining advantage in time for the upcoming election cycles. 

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The RNC is planning to team up with two technology companies, Liberty Works and Data Trust, to create the platform. The plan is to give any approved user access to a "data warehouse" of information collected by the RNC and the other Republican campaign committees.

The RNC plans to give committees, local state parties, candidates and outside groups access to the platform, an attempt to eradicate the sometimes contentious barriers between the party establishment and grassroots that have fueled conflict within the party in recent years.

Users, in turn, will be required to upload any data they collect for their own purposes, which will be housed in the data warehouse and will contribute to the party's store of information on voters nationwide. 

That store of data includes information gathered by direct voter contacts, micro-targeting of voters and publicly available consumer data, according to Roll Call, which first reported news of the effort.

Liberty Works will build the data-sharing platform, while Data Trust will manage the data warehouse, to avoid any potentially illegal coordination between the committees and users of the platforms. Third-party management of the data will also give users the opportunity to build their own tailored tools to use the data for targeted purposes.

Republicans faced a serious technological deficit during the 2012 elections. President Obama's data-mining and message-targeting operation was considered by many to be revolutionary and a large part of the reason he defeated GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, despite poor polling and a dismal economy.

In an election post-mortem report, the RNC suggested that the party focus much of its efforts going forward on improving its technological capabilities, particularly in terms of its data-mining operation. This new effort from the RNC aims to do just that.

RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said the RNC also hopes to "encourage technological innovation and creativity through new applications that can be built off the platform."