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CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA filmed Broke election law

Issued: 2018-03-20

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An investigation by Channel 4 News has revealed how Cambridge Analytica claims it ran ‘all’ of President Trump’s digital campaign – and may have broken election law. Executives were secretly filmed saying they leave ‘no paper trail’.

An undercover investigation by Channel 4 News has revealed how Cambridge Analytica claims it ran key parts of the presidential campaign for Donald Trump.

The British data company was secretly filmed discussing coordination between Trump’s campaign and outside groups – an activity which is potentially illegal.

Executives claimed they “ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy” for President Trump.

In the third part of a Channel 4 News investigation into Cambridge Analytica, bosses also talked about:

In a series of meetings filmed at London hotels over four months, between November 2017 and January 2018 an undercover reporter for Channel 4 News posed as a fixer for a wealthy client hoping to get candidates elected in Sri Lanka.

UPDATE: Cambridge Analytica have announced they have suspended chief executive Alexander Nix pending a full investigation. They said: “In the view of the board Mr Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 News do not represent the values or operations of the firm.”

The company says their work with data and research allowed Mr Trump to win with a narrow margin of “40,000 votes” in three states providing victory in the electoral college system, despite losing the popular vote by more than 3 million votes.

The election was plagued by allegations of fake news and smears on social media, along with the alleged attempt by Russia to influence the outcome.

Mr Nix boasted about Cambridge Analytica’s work for Trump, saying: “We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy.”

Separately, Mr Turnbull described how the company could create proxy organisations to discreetly feed negative material about opposition candidates on to the Internet and social media.

He said: “Sometimes you can use proxy organisations who are already there. You feed them. They are civil society organisations.. Charities or activist groups, and we use them – feed them the material and they do the work…

“We just put information into the bloodstream to the internet and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again over time to watch it take shape. And so this stuff infiltrates the online community and expands but with no branding – so it’s unattributable, untrackable.”

Cambridge Analytica’s senior executives were also filmed discussing a twin-track strategy to campaigning, putting out positive messages through the official Donald J Trump for President campaign, while negative material was pushed out through outside organisations.

Cambridge Analytica’s chief data scientist Dr Tayler said: “As part of it, sometimes you have to separate it from the political campaign itself. So in America you know there  are independent expenditure groups running behind the campaign… Super pacs. Political action committees.

“So, campaigns are normally subject to limits about how much money they can raise.  Whereas outside groups can raise an unlimited amount. So the campaign will use their finite resources for things like persuasion and mobilisation and then they leave the ‘air war’ they call it, like the negative attack ads to other affiliated groups.”

In a different meeting, Mr Turnbull described how the company created the “Defeat Crooked Hilary” brand of attack ads, that were funded by the Make America Number 1 super-PAC and watched more than 30 million times during the campaign.

Coordination between an official election campaign and any outside groups is illegal under US election law. Cambridge Analytica deny wrongdoing, insisting a strict firewall separated out their activity and that they were transparent about their work on political campaigns and PACs.

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