Behind the firewall at Politics in Minnesota's Capitol Report, Kevin Featherly reports in Did Koch brothers-funded data platform swing election outcome?:
Various explanations have emerged for the outcome of the recent Minnesota legislative elections, which saw Republicans maintain their House majority and gain back the Senate. One popular explanation is that a flawed presidential candidate depressed turnout on the Democratic side.
But another factor is being offered by Republicans as a partial explanation, at least with respect to House races: the power of digital data. . . .
Golnik acknowledged that the HRCC has access to i360’s consumer data mine but that “average users” — including candidates — do not. “That’s used at a higher level when we are doing our mail programs and our cables buys,” Golnik said. “I would use that on the independent expenditures side.” . . .
Daudt did not directly answer a question about the HRCC’s costs for its i360 digital infrastructure. “It’s not necessarily expensive,” he said. “It’s just a matter of changing people’s minds that we need to do things differently.”
Bluestem thought that the question about "the HRCC's cost for its i360 digital infrastructure" would be easy to answer by going to the committee's 2015 and 2016 state campaign finance reports and reading how much the Arlington, VA-based company was paid by the HRCC.
Silly us. i360 isn't listed as a vendor on the HRCC's 2014, 2015 and 2016 state campaign finance reports. Nor is it listed as a vendor for Preston Republican Greg Davids's 2016 reports; Davids talked to Featherly about using the firm's mobile app.
However, a review of the three years' of campaign committee reports does indicate changes in spending patterns, with an increased reliance in 2016 on vendors in Kansas and Alexandria Va-area over those in Minnesota that where used in 2014.
So which vendor hooked Daudt and Golnik up with the power of i360's database? After looking at the 1858 Group, which was paid $100,000 for research in 2016 by the time of the HRCC's pre-general report, we don't think it's Republican operative and former Minnesota Jobs Coalition President Mark Drake's nonprofit, which has an office on the same floor as the Minnesota Jobs Coalition in the Northwestern Building in Lowertown.
Recall that Golnik told Featherly:
Golnik acknowledged that the HRCC has access to i360’s consumer data mine but that “average users” — including candidates — do not. “That’s used at a higher level when we are doing our mail programs and our cables buys,” Golnik said. “I would use that on the independent expenditures side.” . .
According to the 2016 report (IE spending begins on page 93 in the pre-general report), Golnik used the Singularis Group of Shawnee Mission, KS for independent expenditure direct mail in MN50B against Carlson ($5,530.10); in MN44A against Klevorn ($6,459.96); in MN57A against Maye Quade ($6,502.60); in MN56B against Port ($6,377.10); in MN48 against Pryor ($6,567.56); in MN25B against Sauke ($3,377.44); and, in MN52B against T'Kach ($6,417.32). These figures are for the direct mail packages against each candidate, and may or may not include use of i360, but the firm itself does use the database.
The Topeka Capitol-Journal reported in October in Douglas County clerk plans line by line examination of mailing list after accusations from local GOP that "Singularis obtains its voter rolls from i360, a company that maintains a nationwide voter database. . ."
Singularis' website notes Americans for Prosperity and Pawlenty 2012 as clients.
There are a couple of additional interconnected vendors located in Virginia also provided voter lists or did direct mail.
Perhaps payments to i360 is also part of the $24,000 paid in July for "Mailing / Voter List Rent/Purchase: Voter File" to Enlighten Solutions, located at 1507 Dade Lane, Alexandria VA (page 71, HRCC 2016 pre-primary report). Open Secrets notes that Enlighten Solutions was a vendor for three presumably federal accounts, but we couldn't find out much about the firm.
A search of the address in the Fairfax County, Virginia, property records revealed that the address was a private home (screengrab above) owned by Aaron Leibowitz, Principal at Political Direct Mail Consulting Firm, Targeted Creative Communications, Inc., according to his Linked In profile.
Leibowitz's past includes a stint as chair of Virginia's Republican Party and work as an account executive for Karl Rove & Co in the early 1990s.
The HRCC's 2016 report also shows that Leibowitz's firm, Targeted Creative Communications, Inc., was also a vendor for Golnik's beloved independent expenditures.
Targeted Communications was the vendor for direct mail used for independent expenditures for Chad Anderson in the special election in MN50B ($6,414.76) Later, the firm was a vendor in MN5B against Anzelc ($16,090.00); in MN21A against Bayley ($14,565.00); in MN14B against Dorholt ($14,888.00); in MN24B against Fritz ($13,861.00); in MN 57B against Huot ($4,690.00); in MN2A against Loud ($7,035.00; in MN12A against McNamar ($4,690.00); in MN17B against Sawatzky ($4,690.00); in 27A against Schindler ($4,690.00); in MN54B against Slaten ($9,380.00); in MN28B against Trehus ($2,345.00); and, in MN42A against Yarusso ($7,035.00).
Up next: the HRCC's 2015 field team spending.
Image: From the December 2014 Politico story, Inside the Koch data mine Meet the guys building the right’s new machine.
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