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NC GOP, Tillis, McHenry Silent on Cambridge Analytica Connection

Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, speaks at the Web Summit 2017 at Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal. The company has been banned from Facebook. (Sam Barnes/Web Summit/flickr)
Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, speaks at the Web Summit 2017 at Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal. The company has been banned from Facebook. (Sam Barnes/Web Summit/flickr)
March 21, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. — It's a story with international implications that has ties here in North Carolina. Cambridge Analytica - a firm now suspected of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election - also allegedly worked for North Carolina GOP, Sen. Thom Tillis and Rep. Patrick McHenry.

The accusation is supported by documentation registered with the Federal Elections Commission, which reported the North Carolina GOP paid the firm $150,000 in 2014. Tillis paid $30,000 and McHenry paid $15,000.

North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin said the state's residents deserve answers.

"It is incumbent on Sen. Thom Tillis and Rep. McHenry and the North Carolina Republican Party to answer questions about their unusually close ties to Cambridge Analytica,” Goodwin said; “especially if the North Carolina Republican Party believes this firm has done nothing wrong."

According to published reports, Cambridge Analytica began collecting Facebook data one month before the North Carolina Republican Party's first payment to the firm. According to its own promotional materials, the data company helped Tillis defeat Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and used the state as a case study.

The state GOP, Tillis and McHenry did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

According to the FEC, the state GOP spent another $65,000 in 2015. Goodwin said the facts don't add up with what the party is saying.

"Their executive director is now claiming that they did no work for the party in 2015,” he said. “Why then did the North Carolina Republican Party pay the firm $65,000 in June of 2015? I don't know how they keep their books, but I sure don't pay people for work they haven't done."

Facebook banned Cambridge Analytica from its site on Friday. On Tuesday, the social media giant had a company-wide staff meeting to discuss the issue, and Congress has launched an investigation into the allegations of unscrupulous data mining.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC