Two sources report that the Trump Campaign’s data analytics firm has just shut down after being raided last month and being targeted in multiple transatlantic investigations for using stolen Facebook data by criminal, civil and legislative authorities in America and the UK.
Cambridge Analytica is shutting down operations, according to both the Wall Street Journal and Gizmodo. The company’s formal announcement of bankruptcy in the US and UK was just posted to their website.
The data company is owned by GOP mega-donor and Trump backer Robert Mercer, as well as part-owned by former Campaign Chairman Steve Bannon who ran its operations. Trump’s campaign relied heavily on Cambridge Analytica to target its advertising and even its rallies and messaging during the campaign.
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Cambridge Analytica sacked its earlier CEO Alexander Nix after he was caught openly discussing using trafficked Ukrainian women in blackmail schemes, only to have the current CEO appear in the next installment of UK Channel 4’s daring undercover camera investigation admitting to violating US election law.
Then last week, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee publicly accused Nix of lying to Congress, a federal offense. Gizmodo reports that the investigations have forced the company to cease operations:
On Wednesday, Cambridge Analytica employees learned that its parent company, the SCL Group, was shuttering its U.S. offices, with American-based workers directed to return their keycards immediately, according to documentation reviewed by Gizmodo.
During the call, Wheatland said that the board determined that rebranding the company’s current offerings in the current environment is “futile.” Cambridge Analytica and SCL have offices in London, New York City, Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
The fate of the entire company remains unclear.
Executives of Cambridge Analytica, right-wing extremist donor Rebekah Mercer and mercenary kingpin Erik Prince have teamed up to form a company called Emerdata, but the rest of their operations are a mystery.
Cambridge Analytica co-located inside the Trump campaign’s San Antonio offices in what they termed “Project Alamo” and was the brains behind the team.
Now, the United Kingdom’s Parliament is investigating Cambridge Analytica’s involvement in Brexit and serious allegations of a pattern of campaign finance law violations and unlawful coordination. Members of Parliament are openly threatening to subpoena Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear before their investigation, which he is resisting.
In America, Special Counsel Mueller is investigating Cambridge Analytica’s CEO, who communicated with Wikileaks during the election, while the company serviced Trump’s campaign.
Federal law forbids foreign persons from being in decision making roles in US campaigns and restricts the use of foreign workers altogether.
In addition, the UK’s independent Information Commissioner’s Office has already raided the data firm’s offices, exposing much of their internal workings to the action of subpoenas and investigatory demands.
State Attorneys General in Massachusetts and New York are conducting separate investigations under their consumer protection laws.
American voters were allegedly politically influenced by the use of stolen big data and microtargeting by Cambridge Analytica on behalf of the Trump Campaign during the 2016 election and did the same to UK voters during the Brexit referendum.
But legally speaking, the most important situations are the many campaign laws violated on both sides of the Atlantic and legislative panels like the Senate Intelligence Committee who may seek changes to existing laws to prevent another Cambridge Analytica from happening.
That’s why the Cambridge Analytica investigations will long outlive the company’s demise today, as the UK and American legal authorities dissect how much stolen data the company used from Facebook – and Twitter as was disclosed this week.
Until investigators discern what Trump’s campaign chairman Steve Bannon knew, and what his backers Robert and Rebekah Mercer were doing with the company, black money pools by mysterious individuals can be built to sway politics without disclosure of the identity of the messenger.
Cambridge Analytica’s Canadian data scientist, Christopher Wylie, who turned whistleblower called the company a “psychological warfare tool” and white nationalist former White House senior Advisor Steve Bannon called it a “f*cking machine” after Trump dismissed him last summer, declaring it was time to “put his hands back on his weapons.”
Both statements are accurate.
Watch the BBC show how close the Trump Campaign and Cambridge Analytica worked:
— BBC Stories (@bbcstories) August 13, 2017