March 28, 2018/Press

ICYMI: Bolton’s super-PAC, Cambridge Analytica teamed up on pro-Tillis ads in 2014

WRAL: Bolton’s super-PAC, Cambridge Analytica teamed up on pro-Tillis ads in 2014
By Laura Leslie
March 27, 2018
New National Security Adviser John Bolton’s super-PAC worked with British data mining firm Cambridge Analytica on targeted ads supporting Republican Thom Tillis in his 2014 U.S. Senate campaign.Cambridge Analytica, which has been roundly criticized for its unauthorized use of personal data of some 50 million Facebook users, designed five versions of the same ad featuring Bolton that tailored toward different personality types.The ads ran on satellite television providers, which have the technology to allow advertisers to target individual subscribers. Cambridge Analytica then used its psychographic profiling to decide which ad should go to a given viewer.More optimistic, agreeable people saw a more upbeat version of the ad, while more fearful people were shown a more frightening version.




“It gives you an edge in increasing the probability that voters would pay attention to your message,” Tillis strategist Paul Shumaker said in a 2015 Bloomberg article.

Former Cambridge Analytica employee and whistleblower Christopher Wylie told CNN recently that the goal of the super-PAC was to raise the profile of national security as a campaign issue in Tillis’ hard-fought race against Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, as well as in two other Senate races that year.

Tillis narrowly defeated Hagan in what became the most expensive Senate race in the nation, with outside money paying for more than 80 percent of the ads, which were prolific in number and their negative tone.

“One of the things that the Bolton PAC was interested in is, is that you can lobby in Washington, you can buy expensive dinners, you can put pressure on, you know, senators and congressmen all you want. But really, at the end of the day, what talks is voters, right?” Wylie said. “And if you can rile up voters and make them more militaristic, you don’t need to lobby senators because the lobbying bubbles up.”

The Bolton ad campaign is featured on the Cambridge Analytica website as one of the firm’s success stories, as is the Tillis campaign in general.

Shumaker declined to comment Tuesday on Bloomberg story, which also named a foreign national who worked for Cambridge Analytica in North Carolina during the Tillis campaign.

The Tillis campaign last weekend strongly denied a report by NBC News that foreign national worked for the campaign in Raleigh. Tim Glister, a British strategist with Cambridge Analytica, talked in the 2015 article about coming to North Carolina to help the North Carolina Republican party support the Tillis campaign.

The state Republican party also denied employing foreign nationals during the 2014 campaign season, but officials acknowledged that the party doesn’t keep track of the nationality of people working for its vendors.

Read the full online article here.