Cruz says Cambridge Analytica assured him its practices were legal
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGrassley agrees to second Kavanaugh hearing after GOP members revolt FEC: Cruz campaign didn't violate rules with fundraising letter labeled ‘summons’ Cruz criticizes O'Rourke on Dallas shooting: Wish he wasn't 'so quick to always blame the police officer' MORE (R-Texas) says he was told by Cambridge Analytica that its practices were legitimate when his 2016 presidential campaign collaborated with the research firm.

"They assured us the claims made in the press were false," Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told The Dallas Morning News.

Frazier said the Cruz campaign had a contract with Cambridge Analytica when it worked with the firm that said "all data used by them were obtained legally, that they would conduct their operations 'in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations,' and that they 'hold all necessary permits, licenses and consents to conduct its operations.' "

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"The campaign relied upon those representations," she said.

In 2015, allegations surfaced that the research firm, which later went on to work for the Trump campaign, was using Facebook data it had illicitly received. According to The Dallas Morning News, the Cruz campaign continued collaborating with the firm for six months following the allegations.

The Dallas Morning News reported that the Cruz campaign paid the research firm $5.8 million between July 2015 and June 2016. The Cruz campaign worked with the firm on "voter ID targeting" and "voter modeling."

On Monday, Texas Democrats were critical of Cruz's use of the firm and called for him to answer questions about his knowledge of its activities.

"Ted Cruz will stop at nothing to weasel his way into power, even if it means weaponizing stolen information to manipulate people to like him," Manny Garcia, deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, said in a press release. 

"Cruz's campaign exploited personal information to create psychological profiles on millions of Americans. All to keep lining the pockets of Cruz's billionaire super PAC donors — like Robert Mercer, who funded this propaganda machine."

The Cruz campaign has not had any ties to the research firm since mid-2016, The Dallas Morning News reported, citing federal campaign records.

Facebook has come under scrutiny in recent days after reports that Cambridge Analytica obtained Facebook data on 50 million accounts without the permission of most users.

Lawmakers on Monday demanded more answers on how Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, was able to amass the Facebook data and on how they used the data.