There’s a "secretive data and technology company" partnering with the Republican Party, ThinkProgress’ Josh Israel reports.
How did Israel get wind of this "secretive" company’s pernicious dealings? They were spelled out in a press release posted publicly on the company’s website.
The company, i360, is owned by Freedom Partners, a nonprofit group ostensibly tied to libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch.
The company’s press release detailed its new relationship with the GOP:
The Data Trust and i360, the two leading right-of-center data management companies, are announcing a historic data sharing partnership that will allow Republican and conservative campaign resources to be spent more efficiently than ever before. […]
Through this partnership, voter contact information gathered by clients of either The Data Trust or i360 can improve the data shared with all clients. For example, if a client of either company conducting voter outreach identifies a voter attribute or preference, clients of the other organization will benefit from that information. As a result, conservative groups and campaigns will have more information about voters at their disposal for their own activities than ever before.
Huffington Post reporter Jon Ward explained the significance of the move in a series of tweets on Thursday.
"When a Tom Cotton volunteer goes door to door using i360, none of that data collected got back to RNC voter file. Now presumably it will," Ward wrote.
The move initially raised campaign finance concerns—a political party can’t directly accept corporate campaign contributions, including in-kind contributions—but a campaign finance expert told ThinkProgress that the move is legal as long as i360 is paid "fair market value" for its data.