Democrats Seek Subpoenas on Trump Campaign's Data Consultants

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(Bloomberg) -- House Democrats urged that congressional subpoenas be issued to two data and analysis companies that worked as consultants to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign because they haven’t turned over documents about Russian contacts or WikiLeaks.

Cambridge Analytica and Giles-Parscale have been holding out on requests from Congress to produce the information, the Democratic leaders of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees said Thursday in a letter to the Republican chairmen of the panels.

“We are writing to request that either the Oversight Committee or the Judiciary Committee issue subpoenas to compel the production of documents,” Representatives Elijah Cummings of Maryland from Oversight and Jerrold Nadler of New York from Judiciary wrote.

They acted on a day when Alexander Nix, the chief executive officer of Cambridge Analytica, is set to have a private interview with the House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential campaign.

“If you decline to issue these subpoenas, then we request that you place this matter on the agendas for our next regularly scheduled business meeting so we may vote on motions to subpoena these critical documents,” the Democrats wrote.

Amanda Gonzalez, spokeswoman for House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, said in an email, "This is squarely within the House Intelligence Committee’s jurisdiction as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election." Gowdy is one of three Republicans leading that panel’s probe, she said.

Judiciary Chairman Robert Goodlatte of Virginia didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Targeted Messages

The Democrats -- who are pursuing questions about whether anyone in Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians, including in targeting messages on social media -- said neither company has denied contacts or communications “with foreign governments or foreign actors during the 2016 campaign.” They also cited potential contacts with WikiLeaks, which posted stolen Democratic emails.

The Trump campaign paid Giles-Parscale to advertise on social media and analyze voter data. The company also used data to raise money online and select advertising platforms. Brad Parscale, a partner in the company, testified in private last month to the House Intelligence Committee.

In July, Parscale sent out a tweet with a statement saying, “I am unaware of any Russian involvement in the digital and data operations of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.” He also said, ”The Trump digital campaign used the exact same digital and marketing strategies that are used every day by corporate America.”

Cambridge Analytica’s Nix said at a November technology conference in Lisbon that in early June 2016, he contacted WikiLeaks after its founder Julian Assange publicly claimed he had Hillary Clinton emails and planned to publish them. Assange previously told the Associated Press that WikiLeaks had rejected a “request for information” from Cambridge Analytica.

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, also has written that lawmakers want Cambridge Analytica to provide a description of any communication with Russian government officials, or their representatives, to identify potential voters for “targeted advertising, marketing or social media contact” in support of the Trump campaign.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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