Trump-Linked Data Firm Bragged About Interfering In Foreign Elections

SCL Elections, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, boasted its successful interference in foreign elections.

SCL Elections, parent company of Cambridge Analytica, produced a brochure prior to 2014 bragging about its success interfering in elections, according to the BBC.

Cambridge Analytica is currently under the microscope as reports of its misuse of Facebook user data surfaced earlier this month.

The data consulting firm was used by the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election, and its now-suspended CEO Alexander Nix has boasted that his company is the reason President Donald Trump won.

In a statement, the acting CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Dr Alexander Tayler, said "Cambridge Analytica was formed in 2013, out of a much older company called SCL Elections.

"We take the disturbing recent allegations of unethical practices in our non-US political business very seriously. The board has launched a full and independent investigation into SCL Elections' past practices, and its findings will be made available in due course."

According to its brochure, which was viewed by the BBC, SCL claims to have influenced voters in three elections:

  1. "The brochure outlines how SCL Elections had apparently organised "anti-election rallies" to dissuade opposition supporters from voting in the Nigerian presidential election in 2007. The election was described by EU monitors as one of the least credible they had observed."
  2. "The document claims SCL Elections deliberately exploited ethnic tensions in Latvia in the 2006 national elections in order to help their client."
  3. "SCL also claims that ahead of the elections in Trinidad and Tobago in 2010, it orchestrated an "ambitious campaign of political graffiti" that "ostensibly came from the youth" so the client party could "claim credit for listening to a 'united youth'"."

SCL also mischaracterized aspects of its relationship with the British government in the brochure:

In the document, SCL Elections claimed potential clients could contact the company through "any British High Commission or Embassy".

It also claims SCL received "List X" accreditation from the UK's Ministry of Defence which provided "Government endorsed clearance to handle information protectively marked as 'confidential' and above".

According to British government officials, this is not an accurate description:

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed SLC were given a provisional List X accreditation but had not had it since 2013.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "It is not now nor ever has been the case that enquiries for SCL 'can be directed through any British High Commission or Embassy'."

"Our understanding is that, at the time of the signing of the contract for project work in 2008/9, the FCO was not aware of SCL's reported activity during the 2006 Latvian election or 2007 Nigerian election."