Republicans Continue to Steal Data

If you are a sucker that pays a grand to attend the GAGOP conventions (that’s registration fees plus all the accoutrements of travel, lodging, food, and the weekend booze benders some folks find themselves in), then you are receiving emails from people that you’ve likely never met running for something you care very little about – a position inside the GAGOP.

It’s a highlight of the convention season…

…and, a highlight of how dumb talking head Republicans are when it comes to [INSERT ISSUE] integrity. It goes without saying the “Stolen Election” nonsense is a non-winner. By a 2-to-1 margin, polling shows only a shrinking portion of Republicans are screaming about election integrity. Most see the value of it; most believe we have it.

The irony, though, is Republicans do a ridiculously piss poor job with data integrity. You will get spammed. It’s a guarantee. Donated through WinRed? It’s even worse. Let’s start there before we talk about Georgians.

By now you’re familiar with the platform WinRed. It brings in a LOT of money for Republicans – and, I mean, a lot. WR is a grifter’s dream scenario. It is setup in such a way that consultants can automate their cut off the top. A few little configuration steps and – BAM! – money in the bank.

As a concept, WR is a good thing. Democrats have always been the tech leaders. Coders, programmers, and creatives tend to be outcast nerds. They don’t fit in with the country club Republican types. Anything more modern than AOL terrifies Republicans, too. So, WR was a welcome platform investment on the part of the RNC.

Then, the spamming started…and it started hard! If you donated to a federal candidate through WinRed, you received emails and text messages with long pontificating messages about America’s next savior. The platform feeds donor forms with pre-selected recurring donations. The dupes at WinRed and various Republican campaigns forgot the one rule of any good grifter or vampire – you never bleed your donors dry. WinRed’s Privacy Policy makes it pretty clear they don’t agree.

Now, let’s look at what we do here in Georgia. In the past two weeks alone, I’ve received more than a dozen forwarded emails. A common theme came across with each forwarded email. “I never signed up for this.” That’s been a problem for years.

When candidates for GAGOP office run for election, they have the opportunity to use the delegate list for communications. In theory, a candidate will only use the list for their campaign. In reality, they pass those lists around like a Snoop Dogg brownie.

One of the most notorious offenders is Brant Frost IV’s son. He’s created many “organizations” for “polling” purposes. Others in the GRA flat out stole data from county parties. You are receiving emails from candidates for races that you’ve never signed up for. All from unrecoverable past delegate lists.

There is one big caveat to this that is worth discussing. When you become a delegate, you are at some level a “public figure,” even if you don’t think of yourself as one. 1.2 million Republicans voted in the 2022 primary; 2.1 million voted for Brian Kemp. 0.2% of Republican voters actually attend a State Convention. When you’re a delegate, you’re representing people – not only yourself. You should hear from candidates. There is value in data being available in a controlled manner.

The GAGOP would do well to modernize its data policies with new leadership.

First, just put up a damn Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions page. Use that to spell out exactly data collection methods on the site. It should also state the party shares delegate lists with outside parties. Then, make them known. For god sakes PLEASE put something in place.

Second, start to clamp down on the unwarranted and unsolicited sharing of GAGOP data. The easiest way to do this is to provide unique, salted lists for every candidate running for GAGOP office much like the FEC allows for federal campaigns. Then, put some meat behind it. Violations result in an outright ban on serving in any leadership role for two years at the local, district, or state level.

Third, stop paying consultants who care more about money and less about actual integrity. Thousands of grifters across the country can install simple data policies that protect the information of our party’s donors, delegates, volunteers, and activists. That the GOP website lacks basic fundamentals of a modern site is embarrassing.

Fourth, start following best practices for collecting and using data. Opt-ins are a must. Stop spamming for contributions at all times of the year – both in text and email. Actually deliver value to the people that power the party. This is a cultural change. It requires the crustier parts of the GOP to acknowledge the digital world is changing the way we consume information.

The people vying for your attention as the leaders of the GAGOP have, to date, proven they don’t think like this. That’s a problem, because most Republicans are concerned about one thing above all else.

Winning. That’s it. We want to win elections, win the debates, and win the hearts and minds of voters.

Winning is hard when people are stealing data and sending “poll results” from their dad’s basement.

One Reply to “Republicans Continue to Steal Data”

  1. Worse than that, when Nathaniel Darnell was the Cobb GOP Vice Chair of Communications, he had access to the 8,000 or so emails (not all of them active) on the Cobb GOP Constant Contact account. He took it upon himself to download the list and upload it to the GRA account. When I questioned about it, he denied it, then claimed it was an accident. Then he just waited out my term.

    As I read both state and federal law, accessing a computer system to steal data is a felony.

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