The fraudsters who tried to steal multiple presidential elections by psychologically targeting Americans via stolen Facebook data at Cambridge Analytica got their new firms bailed out by the U.S. Government .
In case you hadn’t heard, the White House’s Twitter account recently went fully off the rails.
In a demonstration of typical Gen Z prowess at the art of the ‘clap back’, Megan Coyne, the new Deputy Director of Platforms in the White House’s Office of Digital Strategy, had something to say in response to criticisms of Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan:
The White House’s account went on to tweet (quite factually) about various other prominent Republicans who had criticized student loan forgiveness yet had received pandemic business loans which had been forgiven by the federal government.
PPP loan abuse is something citizens have been complaining about regularly, and it seemed these tweets tapped into a wellspring of anger about the open and widespread corruption and abuse of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars.
I was curious about other entities who may have received PPP funds, and found a few interesting characters. As an example, “Locality Labs LLC”, described in a March 2020 article in The Atlantic as follows:
…received a PPP loan in excess of $105K (forgiven).
The man who runs this morass, Brian Timpone, also has a brother who runs a firm describing itself as “the largest producer of local news in the United States.”
Incidentally, Trump’s 2020 campaign paid Locality Labs LLC a tidy $5,000 sum for ‘software’, despite their primary line of business being described by reputable journalists as ‘fake news’.
Since the dissipation of the Cambridge Analytica surveillance scandal, which has had wide-ranging repercussions on our understanding of political targeting and influence operations, its staffers have redistributed themselves to new organizations not bearing the same taint yet often doing much of the same work.
I am briefly highlighting two of these firms belonging to Trump staffers Brad Parscale and Matt Oczkowski, who received tidy sums of free cash from the federal government for… whatever it is they do over there.
In fact, CBS News picked one of these companies up in the early days of the pandemic:
Today, I can report on the existence of a second PPP loan given to Parscale’s business a year later.
Per the below chart, courtesy of NEWSTRACS:
- Matt Oczkowski is an owner of Campaign Inbox LLC, which received one round of forgiven PPP funding totaling $57,469.
- Brad Parscale is an owner of Cloud Commerce LLC, which received not one, but two rounds of PPP funding totaling $1,572,159 forgiven by the federal government.
Why mention Campaign Inbox LLC’s measly $60K, you might ask?
Well, according to Fast Company in July 2019:
As Cambridge Analytica and its related companies continue winding down, the core promises of their much-debated psychological targeting methods persist, both through related entities and a growing interest in merging big data and behavioral science. Some former Cambridge Analytica data experts now work for a new firm, the Texas-based behavioral-science marketing company Data Propria.
The company was founded by Matt Oczkowski, a political strategist who served as Cambridge’s head of product during the Trump campaign. Earlier this year, Oczkowski was also tapped to lead the operations of Parscale Digital, a data firm launched by Brad Parscale, who ran digital media for Trump in 2016 and is managing the President’s re-election campaign.
Parscale Digital and Data Propria are both subsidiaries of CloudCommerce, a company in which Parscale holds significant stock and a board seat. Last year, campaign finance experts expressed concern that Parscale firms were receiving funding from a pro-Trump super PAC in advance of Trump’s 2020 campaign, testing rules meant to keep campaigns from coordinating with outside groups.
Last June, the Associated Press reported that Data Propria was also supporting the campaign, but Oczkowski denied doing any work on behalf of Trump. A person familiar with Data Propria’s business said the company worked on polling data for the Republican National Committee ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, but had since decided to halt its political work in favor of commercial clients.
Reports that Data Propria’s methods and staff overlapped with Cambridge Analytica prompted members of Congress last June to seek assurances from the company that it is not using any of Cambridge’s improperly obtained Facebook data. Lawmakers have not heard back from Oczkowski, Data Propria, or CloudCommerce, a spokesperson for the Energy and Commerce committee said.
The person familiar with Data Propria contended the company had no access to the Facebook data.
So did the federal government essentially gift a bunch of Big Liars some free money to use to continue psychologically targeting Americans with influence operations?
And what are Brad Parscale and Matt Oczkowski doing over there with our money?
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