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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

GOP Now Owned by Koch Bros?

From Joan McCarter’s Daily Kos post “Kochs to Republicans: All your voters belong to us“:

The RNC has been working on creating a program called Beacon. The key part of that sentence is “working on,” because the program isn’t ready and campaigns need it. Campaigns have been going their own way with diverse private vendors, including one called Themis which has a system called i360. That poses a problem for the RNC because they then don’t have access to the databases of voters that the campaigns are identifying. But the RNC is coming up against a behemoth foe.

McCarter then quotes from Jon Ward’s “The Behind The Scenes Story Of The RNC’s Quest For Data Supremacy” at HuffPo:

Beacon is intended to open up the RNC voter file to as many new apps and programs want to interface with it. But when campaigns, or worse, state parties, use i360, that is a problem for the RNC, because i360 is more than an app. It has its own voter file. And so every state party that uses i360 is sending out field staffers–paid for with RNC money, funneled through the state parties–to collect data that goes back not to the RNC, but to the Koch-brothers owned subsidiary.

And then from Josh Israel’s ThinkProgress post “The Koch Brothers And Republican Party Have Just Joined Forces To Track Voters“:

A secretive data and technology company linked to conservative oil billionaires Charles and David Koch has reached an agreement to share its information with the “voter file and data management company” that holds an exclusive agreement with the Republican National Committee. This will allow the Republican Party full access to voter data collected by the Koch’s Freedom Partners entities and clients–and entrenches the Kochs’ network even deeper into the GOP.

In 2014 and going forward, data control will be an increasing source of power. And with all of this invaluable voter data being filtered through the Koch Brothers’ system, it is no exaggeration to conclude, as does McCarter that this “arguably means the Koch brothers essentially own the Republican party, not just its Senate candidates.”

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