Get past red herrings to focus Cambridge Analytica evidence of hiding campaign money
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The flaw in the reaction to new leaks regarding Cambridge Analytica is ignoring the important question of are the identities of foreign donors into our elections being hidden?

Unfortunately, the reaction has been outrage that the company used Facebook social graphs to target voters around the U.S. and abroad, with the purely partisan attack following that this was how Trump “cheated” to win the 2016 election. This ridiculous whining continues to ignore the fact that the Obama campaign’s data analytics researchers did the same thing in 2012.

When news first broke on the Cambridge Analytica scandal in March 2018, former Obama campaign official Carol Davidsen tweeted:

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“Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realized that was what we were doing. They came to (our) office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side.”

Davidsen also set up the unverified credit card system invented by Benjamin Rahn and Matt DeBergalis that became Act Blue, the group that moves billions of dollars to Democratic candidates and left wing causes. The Obama campaign digital team was just playing by the rules in both cases, but the problem is the rules are terrible and should be outlawed.

Last February, Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarRepublicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles Overnight Energy: Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel | GOP lawmakers push back on bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners | Green groups sue Trump over California fracking plans Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel MORE (R-Ariz.) introduced house bill HR 1422 which seeks to stop foreign illegal donations from flooding into our elections undetected. An earlier version of this bill received rare bipartisan support with 52 Republican and 31 Democratic co-sponsors before Trump’s election in 2016.

An even more important aspect to the Cambridge story is the ability to move secret political money. As the leaker and former Cambridge Analytica employee Brittany Kaiser said:

“… donors discussing ways of obscuring the source of their donations through a series of different financial vehicles. These documents expose the entire dark money machinery behind US politics.”

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The reaction from Facebook to having both the Obama campaign in 2012 and then Cambridge Analytica in 2016 use their collected data to better reach their voters has completely reversed when dealing with the Trump campaign by telling them they can no longer use Facebook ads to target their supporters. Even though this is irrelevant to the whole matter of illegal secret campaign contributions and worse yet to have the same data manipulators focus instead on changing votes after they are cast electronically.

Fraudulent voting is by far the biggest concern for Americans in the entire arena of cleaning up our democratic republic with almost two-thirds of voters viewing it as a very pressing concern. The only other issue that is close is the concern about foreign money being funneled into campaigns.

The reaction so far to these leaks is “we hear you loud and clear. You really want us to guard against massive voter fraud and huge amounts of secret foreign campaign donations making the next election illegitimate, and you may have heard some voters get different Facebook ads based on the info Facebook has on them. Good news, we are taking care of your concerns by making sure you get the same Facebook ad as someone you know who does not share your political views!”

This is a complete red herring.

Both sides are simply grabbing partisan nuggets and using them purely for political purposes.

Senate Republicans should unite in pointing out the foreign attempts to discredit our elections and also stop holding up money to improve ballot security.

Likewise, Democrats should stop yelling “voter suppression” when someone is asked to pull out an ID or sign an affidavit saying they do not have one before casting a vote.

Virtually all Republicans and Independents believe IDs should be checked to stop voter fraud. It’s almost like in the movie “The Irishman” with the mob walking around graveyards writing down names off of headstones to use in different voting locations.

It’s a lot easier to manipulate elections now as long as the U.S. remains one of the only democracies to not to require Voter ID along with England and Australia.

The leaks from Cambridge Analytica properly evaluated can help give a road map of how to stop foreign money flooding our political system. These illegal donations are almost invited into the country as well as casting false votes to change U.S. elections.

If we want to get our country back, we must defeat those who wish to divide our nation in order to benefit their own – then this is the time to act.

John Pudner is executive director of Take Back Our Republic.