Cambridge Analytica Accused of Violating US Election Laws in New Legal Action
CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA ACCUSED OF VIOLATING US ELECTION LAWS IN NEW LEGAL ACTION
SOURCE: ABC NEWS
Amid mounting accusations that data firm Cambridge Analytica misused the Facebook data of up to 50 million user profiles, the U.K.-based firm and its top executives are now also under fire for alleged violations of U.S. election laws.
Government watchdog group Common Cause Monday filed a pair of legal complaints with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Department of Justice accusing Cambridge Analytica LTD, its parent company SCL Group Limited, CEO Alexander Nix, SCL co-founder Nigel Oakes, data scientist Alexander Tayler, and former employee-turned-whistleblower Christopher Wylie of violating federal election laws that prohibit foreigners from participating directly or indirectly in the decision-making process of U.S. political campaigns.
The defendants are all non-U.S. citizens, according to the complaints.
The Trump campaign paid Cambridge Analytica nearly $6 million for services during the 2016 election cycle, according to data from the FEC.
Seventeen other Republican political organizations, including Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign and a super PAC headed by incoming National Security Adviser John Bolton, also paid the firm a combined $16 million for services that included research and micro-targeting of voters, government records show.
The complaints cite a New York Times report of an alleged memo dated July 22, 2014 from lawyer Laurence Levy, then at the firm Bracewell & Giuliani, to GOP megadonor Rebekah Mercer, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and the now-suspended Nix. The memo warns them that foreign nationals “may not play strategic roles” in U.S. political campaigns, including giving “strategic advice,” but that foreigners can still “act as functionaries that collect and process data” as long as the final analysis of that data is conducted by U.S. citizens.