President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election team has enlisted several former employees of Cambridge Analytica, the political firm at the heart of Facebook’s massive data leak earlier this year, the Associated Press reported on Friday.
Four former Cambridge Analytica staffers, as part of Data Propria, a new political consulting company, have been brought on to help keep President Trump in the White House, according to the report.
The AP tweeted earlier that the Trump campaign “is secretly working” with the former Cambridge staffers. Cambridge Analytica went bankrupt and shuttered in May, only two months after it was revealed the firm collected data on up to 87 million unwitting Facebook users.
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The AP has learned that Donald Trump's 2020 campaign is secretly working with former employees of disgraced political consultancy company Cambridge Analytica. https://t.co/0Y81p4hg4D
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 15, 2018
Matt Oczkowski, Cambridge Analytica’s former head of product, leads the new company. He was overheard by two AP reporters saying he was “doing the president’s work for 2020,” in connection with Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign head.
Oczkowski denied to the AP that Data Propria was assisting the president’s re-election effort, but said it would be helping the Republican National Committee during the 2018 midterms.
Parscale told the AP the Trump team hasn’t started awarding contracts for the 2020 campaign yet.
“I am laser-focused on the 2018 midterms and holding the House and increasing our seats in the Senate,” Parscale told the AP. “Once we do those things, I’ll start working on re-electing President Trump.”
A Data Propria employee told the AP, on conditions of anonymity, that the firm had already started working for Trump’s re-election campaign in a similar way to its 2016 efforts. Oczkowski had told the AP the firm wasn’t aiming for campaign clients, but “changed course” after he was told of the overheard conversation.
“I’m obviously open to any work that would become available,” Oczkowski told the AP.
Oczkowski and Parscale have worked together in the past to get President Trump elected. Oczkowski, while still at Cambridge Analytica in 2016, led a 13-member team to help analyze data collected by the Trump campaign.