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David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, attends an Economic Club of New York event in New York, December 10, 2012.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) - RTR3BFKF
Recriminations flew within the Republican party after Mitt Romney's ignominious 2012 defeat, with many in the party pointing to the Democrats' much more sophisticated ground operation, based on a well-developed, tested technology. In a nutshell, their voter database. The fight that ensued involved "tea party upstarts, nonpartisan data geeks, operatives linked to the Koch brothers and insiders like Karl Rove." It also involved competing Republican entities—the Republican National Committee vs. the National Republican Congressional Committee vs. state and local party committees and individual campaigns—as this great backgrounder from the Huffington Post details.

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.

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.
That problem for the RNC just got resolved and you won't be surprised at all to learn that the Koch brothers won.
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.
The GOP Data Trust, the company the RNC has been working with on its Beacon effort, is now going to be accessing the voter data from the Kochs' company, but apparently all of the data will be dumped into the Kochs' system. Which arguably means the Koch brothers essentially own the Republican party, not just its Senate candidates.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 11:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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