Trump's data firm accused of breaking law to help GOP win elections


Democrats want a full investigation into Cambridge Analytica, the shady data-mining company that boosted Trump and the GOP.

The legal troubles keep coming for Cambridge Analytica, the data firm that faces fresh accusations of illegal campaign practices that stretch back years before Trump's presidential bid.

According to a new Washington Post report, Cambridge Analytica was "overwhelmingly staffed by non-U.S. citizens — mainly Canadians, Britons and other Europeans — at least 20 of whom fanned out across the United States in 2014 to work on congressional and legislative campaigns."

A document obtained by the Post shows that the infamous data firm, which was backed by GOP megadonor Robert Mercer and Trump ally Steve Bannon, used these foreign workers for "managing media relations" as well as fundraising, planning events, and providing "communications strategy" and "talking points, speeches [and] debate prep" in campaigns.

That work potentially runs afoul of both immigration and campaign finance laws. Furthermore, the company ignored a legal memorandum warning that such practices could violate U.S. election laws.

This new allegation follows Cambridge Analytica's suspension from Facebook for improperly harvesting data from 50 million users, and an investigation by the British government. Watchdog group Common Cause is now filing complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department.

Trump, whose campaign relied on Cambridge Analytica to aid its digital operations, has been silent on the issue, after lying about the role that the company played in his campaign, which paid $5.9 million to the data firm.

But Trump is not alone. Several Republicans, including North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and dark money groups in Colorado, relied on the firm in the 2014 midterms. Ted Cruz's presidential campaign also used the firm for his failed 2016 run.

And as Democrats call for a redoubled investigation, Republicans have downplayed the need to look into the matter. The House GOP's top Russia investigator, Mike Conaway, says he has "no intention" of calling back Cambridge Analytica employees for more testimony.

It is not a good look for Republicans to try to bury discussion of a scandal centering on alleged violations of election law committed in their name.

The American people deserve answers about whether Cambridge Analytica broke the law in using foreign workers to manipulate elections. And the Republican Party owes them answers on why that does not seem to matter to them.