"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Friday, August 24, 2012

AP Exclusive: Romney uses secretive data-mining (for Fundraising)

The more that has come out on Romney and his secrecy, you have to wonder why he has the nomination or even why he ran.  Here is one scenario that could have happened:
Romney is the candidate because they cut a deal with him to give him the nomination in 2012 if he dropped out of the race with McCain.  Romney stayed in the race a long time after it was clear that he was going to lose.  When he finally did drop out, he said he would campaign for McCain in places like Michigan but that never materialized.  Is this why McCain endorsed Romney early in the race which never made sense?  RNC did all the heavy lifting to get Romney the nomination even cheating and changing rules.  Smacks of a deal being cut in 2008 to award him the nomination in 2012.  Sometimes backdoor deals are successful and some are gigantic busts -- this one is the latter IMHO.
This secretive data mining operation for Romney explains a lot and adds to the secrecy surrounding candidate Romney.  How many of you have been receiving fundraising letters from the Romney camp maybe 6-12 times a week?  I know I have -- they came in variations of my name.  Some have Mrs, Ms, middle initial, no middle initial, SK and my last name, S and my last name, and some with my maiden name which I never use except the DMV put it on my driver's license.  The answer is data mining for the Romney campaign.

These fundraising requests are part of a secret data mining operation which is secretive the AP cannot locate who is paying for the operation for Romney.  Yet this secretive man wants to be President?

Unlike Obama, Romney's campaign has declined to publicly identify the names of major fundraisers, known as bundlers, who have helped amass much of its money. Details of this project have not been made public until now, as payments to Buxton aren't reflected in federal campaign expense reports.
Buxton is not listed as a vendor in any of the campaign's reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission, although some campaigns do not report expenses until the vendor sends them a bill.
When AP initially asked Buxton about its work for Romney, it declined to acknowledge that it helped raise money for the RNC, even as its own website displayed a prominent log-in page for "2012 presidential donor  prospecting." That web address contained the letters "RNC" - a common abbreviation for the Republican National Committee. After the AP's continued questioning, the company replaced the "RNC" letters in the web address with a generic "campaign" the next day.
Are we going to get the real truth about the Romney campaign including donations and vendors after the election?  This smacks of a campaign telling vendors, we will pay you after the campaign so don't send a bill until the election is over.  That way they can keep secret about who they are hiring as vendors.  Wouldn't be the first time I have seen that happen and won't be the last.  Not very ethical but then a lot of today's politicians are not very ethical especially Secretary of States who control elections.

People who run campaigns have a tendency to forget that big donors only have one vote but if you have 100 donors who give $25 a piece that equals $2,500 which is what a donor can give the Romney campaign.  Even though Romney has the cash advantage, Obama has the numbers advantage for donors which translates into votes.  If I was a candidate, I would take the number of voters any day over a much fewer amount of donors for more cash.  That's why getting donations in SF area as mentioned in the article is probably from Mormons who have been pressured to give to Romney almost like tithing to the Church.  They may not even take the time to vote.  Smaller donors almost always vote because they will sacrifice to make a small donation to be part of a campaign.

Now you know who to blame for all those fundraising letters -- a data mining company who is tracking our moves.  Why isn't this illegal?

Aug 24, 8:50 AM EDT
AP Exclusive: Romney uses secretive data-mining
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Mitt Romney's success in raising hundreds of millions of dollars in the costliest presidential race ever can be traced in part to a secretive data-mining project that sifts through Americans' personal information - including their purchasing history and church attendance - to identify new and likely, wealthy donors, The Associated Press has learned.
For the data-mining project, the Republican candidate has quietly employed since at least June a little-known but successful analytics firm that previously performed marketing work for a colleague tied to Bain & Co., the management-consulting firm that Romney once led. 
The head of Buxton Co. of Fort Worth, Texas, chief executive Tom Buxton, confirmed to the AP his company's efforts to help Romney identify rich and previously untapped Republican donors across the country. The Romney campaign declined to discuss on the record its work with Buxton or the project's overall success. 
The project shows that the same strategies corporations use to influence the way we shop and think are now being used to influence presidential elections. The same personal information that we give away, often unwittingly when we swipe our credit cards or log into Facebook, is now being collected by the people who might one day occupy the White House. 
There are no records of payments to Buxton from Romney's campaign, the Republican National Committee or a joint fundraising committee. Under federal law, companies cannot use corporate money or resources, such as proprietary data analysis, for in-kind contributions to campaigns. 
The effort by Romney appears to be the first example of a political campaign using such extensive data analysis. President Barack Obama's re-election campaign has long been known as data-savvy, but Romney's project appears to take a page from the Fortune 500 business world and dig deeper into available consumer data. 
Buxton said he's working for the Romney campaign because he wants "to be on the winning team." 
He once worked with a former Romney business partner to provide insights, for example, about where Petco should open a new pet-supply store to maximize profits. In addition to Buxton, the data-mining project was described to the AP by a Romney fundraiser who spoke on condition of anonymity because the fundraiser did not want to face repercussions for describing internal campaign processes. 
Excerpt:  Read More at  AP
This is disgusting that data mining is being used by the Romney campaign to harass donors who have given in the past to Republican candidates.  I can understand going to Republicans several times but the volume is every week with more and more fundraising letters I find really irritating.  How much money can you spend on ads when frankly people are sick and tired of seeing ads all the time in Battleground States.  Know my two daughters live in a battleground state.  My oldest daughter said the campaign ads never quit on Denver TV.

Romney is saturating the markets like he did in FL with the Super PAC where he had staffers working between the Super PACs and his campaign during the primary not to mention the Super PAC Restore our Future is run by former Romney aides. Nothing to see here, just move on to the next topic.  Honesty and ethics will never be a hallmark of a Romney campaign.  He will do anything to skirt or even break campaign finance laws in order to get elected -- he will just pay a fine afterwards. 

I have not donated one penny to the RNC or Romney for 2012 -- no amount of mail is going to make me change my mind.  Guess you could look at it that they are keeping the post office busy.  I did ask the post office what happens if I refuse the mail and was told there is no return so they toss them in a box that the letters then get shredded.  Only campaign that I have received mail from who sends a bumper strip and pictures in mail without a donation.  Every day there is at least one and several times I have had three fundraising letters in one day.  That doesn't even count email.

Where is the transparency in the Romney campaign?  This data mining is just another example of his lack of transparency.   Anyone who swallowed the koolaid there would be transparency never looked at Romney's career.  As Governor, he made sure he didn't have to deal with the 'little people' of MA including the  legislature or even ride in the elevator with them -- he had the Office of Governor essentially blocked off so a member of the legislature didn't just drop by his office which they had been doing for years plus he took over a public elevator for his and his staff's personal use:

On this reporter's unannounced visit to the Legislature, there was no shortage of Democratic lawmakers who complained about Romney's unprecedented move to block off one State House elevator specifically for the governor's office. 
"He took over the elevator for the west wing of the building. He kept it only for his staff and him," Smizik said. 
Listening in on Smizik's comments, another Democrat, state Rep. Ellen Story, said the elevator restrictions and security ropes installed outside Romney's office turned off some lawmakers for good. 
"When Romney came in, he treated government like the only thing he ever knew, which was big business, and he was the CEO of the big business," Story said. 
Another lawmaker, Democratic state Rep. John Scibak, was far more blunt in his feelings about Romney. 
"Many people said, 'Good riddance. Don't let the door hit you on the way out,' " Scibak quipped about Romney's decision to forgo a second term to run for the presidency in 2008.
The Romney camp struck back saying these are Obama supporters who are saying this BUT members of the legislature were complaining about this while he was Governor and Obama hadn't even been elected as a Senator.  Then there is the little detail that all the Romney staff destroyed their hard drives so no one could see what had been happening during the time Romney was Governor:
Mitt Romney spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret, Reuters has learned.
Romney left a $100,000 bill for the Massachusetts taxpayers when he left office because he was such a secretive person who didn't want anyone looking into the records of his administration since he planned to run for President.  Guess he figured that when he ran, there would be no records to review, but he didn't count on the reporters from MA like the Boston Globe.  What was Romney trying to hide?  Just like the tax returns -- same story from Romney -- different topic.  Either Romney is an extremely paranoid individual or he is hiding a lot of things.  Either way it should have disqualified him from running for President.

Those rope lines and elevator only for the Governor and his aides -- gone:

Democratic leaders, who now dominate the Massachusetts State House and control the governor's office, gleefully note the rope lines are gone and the Romney executive elevator has since been reopened to the general public. 
Romney's Democratic successor, Gov. Deval Patrick, conceded he made those changes after taking office. 
"I'm a governor of, with and for the people. We have a different style in that respect," Patrick said, adding he has great respect for Romney.
Wonder how many politicians say they have great respect for their predecessor who have their fingers crossed when making that statement?  Bet it is a lot!

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