Concerned Citizens for Colorado, a dark-money group that purchased Facebook data from the disgraced firm Cambridge Analytica and used the personal information to help win key Colorado senate seats in 2014, is pumping a half million dollars into the Colorado Republican Party again this year.
In 2014, Concerned Citizens used the Facebook information, which was obtained improperly, to create profiles of 136,000 voters in five Colorado swing districts. It paid for the research on behalf of the Republicans’ Senate Majority Fund, a GOP entity charged with winning state senate seats.
Cambridge Analytica told Colorado Republicans that it could, for example, target voters with “neurotic personality traits, for instance, who may respond well to messages that scare them, such as politicians who want to impose tougher gun regulations,” as characterized by The Denver Post.
One of those swing districts where these profiles were used: an Adams County state senate race where Beth Martinez Humenik prevailed by just 900 votes in 2014, helping put the GOP in control of the senate chamber for the first time in a decade.
That’s a key race again this year, as Republicans try to protect their one-seat senate majority, and presumably the outfit that hired Cambridge Analytica is back for a command performance.
After doing its work in Colorado, Cambridge Analytica went on to use Facebook data to help elect Trump in 2016.
Its data was apparently used by Russians as well, raising questions about whether the personal information was used by Russia to meddle in the 2016 election.
But after journalists revealed that Cambridge Analytica was using personal Facebook information, the firm shut its doors, apparently making it impossible for Colorado Republicans to hire Cambridge Analytica this year.
But are Colorado Republicans using Facebook information or other tainted data from a new incarnation of Cambridge Analytica?
Or perhaps from a new firm involving the same political operatives whom Colorado Republicans met when Cambridge Analytica worked in Colorado in 2014?
A call seeking an answer to those questions was not returned by the Colorado Republican Party’s Independent Expenditure Committee, which received $500,000 this year from Concerned Citizens of Colorado, according to campaign finance records.
After it became known that Cambridge Analytica had targeted Colorado races, then Denver Post reporter John Frank reported:
Senate Majority Fund, an independent expenditure committee registered in Colorado, used the data to craft at least six mailers in 2014, but Cambridge Analytica and SCL [a British political consulting firm] were paid through a dark-money nonprofit organization called Concerned Citizens for Colorado that doesn’t disclose its donors and offers few details about its spending.
Concerned Citizens paid $344,000 to Cambridge Analytica and SCL, according to tax filings. The spending represented about 30 percent of the total spent by the nonprofit that year. The same organization later paid Cambridge Analytica another $100,000 in 2015 for polling and consulting work, tax records show.
Cambridge Analytica bragged about its 2014 impact in Colorado, stating on its website, “These victories ultimately gave the GOP control over the Colorado state Senate,” according to The Post.
This year, Republicans are trying to retain their majority in the chamber by winning a handful of swing districts, and Adams County race between Martinez Humenik and Democrat Faith Winter is considered one of the most competitive legislative races in Colorado.