Raleigh — The latest shoe to drop in the Thom Tillis/NC GOP/Cambridge Analytica scandal hit on Friday evening. NBC News reported that Chris Wylie, the whistleblower and former Cambridge staffer, revealed that “there were three or four full-time CA staffers embedded in Tillis’s campaign on the ground in Raleigh. All of them were foreign nationals.” A second source confirmed Wylie’s account.
Wylie continued to explain to NBC News that “that his largely foreign team instructed the Tillis campaign “on the messaging. We crafted his messaging, we targeted his messaging.”
Just days before this story broke, Tillis said Cambridge performd “limited services” despite admitting to paying the firm a $100,000 win bonus for $30,000 worth of work.
Tillis went into damage control mode on Saturday, telling WRAL that the staffers worked for NC GOP, not the Tillis campaign. And that they couldn’t have been on the Tillis campaign because “The Tillis campaign committee was based in and operated out of Cornelius, not Raleigh,” as though campaigns don’t have more than one office.
Meanwhile, NC GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse spun his own, contradictory tale, telling three different media outlets on three different days this weekend three different stories. Here’s the evolution of the NC GOP’s stories, straight from Dallas’ mouth:
Friday, 3/23, to NBC News: “A spokesman for the Republican Party of North Carolina also said the Cambridge Analytica workers were not embedded in the Tillis campaign, but worked for the state party.”
Saturday, 3/24, to WRAL: In an interview with WRAL News, NCGOP director Dallas Woodhouse, who was not with the party in 2014, could neither confirm nor deny that any Cambridge Analytica personnel were working for the party on the ground in North Carolina in 2014. “I don’t know whether that’s true or not or whether they had a foreign nationality,” Woodhouse told WRAL News.
Sunday, 3/25, to Washington Post: “No foreign workers worked for us,” Woodhouse said.
Despite all the spinning on the part of Tillis and Woodhouse, one thing is abundantly clear. No matter where the foreign Cambridge Analytica staffers were housed, they clearly felt they worked for Thom Tillis. And Tillis and the NC GOP are going to great and contradictory lengths to avoid answering serious questions.
“Thom Tillis and the NC GOP have been misleading reporters and North Carolinians about their involvement with Cambridge Analytica for a week, and now their efforts to obscure the truth have been uncovered as outright lies,” said NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds. “Cambridge Analytica did more than ‘limited’ work for Thom Tillis, and it’s time that he and NC GOP turn over the contracts they had with Cambridge Analytica so North Carolinians can get to the bottom of this.”