In brief

  • Crypto millionaire Brock Pierce is running for president.
  • His campaign manager, Brittany Kaiser, was a staffer at political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
  • She shared documents alleging that the Trump 2016 campaign illegally coordinated with a political action committee.

Political junkies know to expect an October surprise right before a presidential election. But the surprise usually comes from one of the major campaigns—not from the campaign manager of an independent candidate.

Brittany Kaiser, campaign manager to independent presidential candidate and crypto millionaire Brock Pierce, has leaked documents purporting to show illegal coordination between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and a political action committee that supported him.

And where did Kaiser get these documents? She, in addition to Christopher Wylie, was one of the Cambridge Analytica whistleblowers. Kaiser worked as business development director for the former political consulting firm, which surreptitiously took Facebook user data from millions of Americans and weaponized it into political ads.

She testified before the UK Parliament and was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller, who was looking into reports of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

But she still had more info, apparently. 

Kaiser tweeted today that she had “leaked over 800 pages of new documents” to the Campaign Legal Center (CLC), a US nonprofit focused on voting rights and expanding political participation, which used them to file a complaint to the Federal Election Commission today.

According to the CLC, “Many of the materials underscore how Cambridge Analytica, which was founded and owned by the billionaire Mercer family, facilitated illegal coordination between Make America Number 1, a Mercer-backed super Political Action Committee (PAC) supporting Trump’s 2016 election, and the 2016 Trump campaign.”

Specifically, the documents apparently show that Cambridge Analytica “claimed credit for creating, producing, and distributing ads for the Trump campaign,” while the firm was also “conducting polling and developing ‘all of the creative’ for the supposedly independent pro-Trump super PAC, Make America Number 1 (also known as ‘Defeat Crooked Hillary’).”

Those two activities were far from separate, said CLC. Because it worked for both, it could use information learned from the campaign to create more effective ads for the super PAC.

That’s potentially against the law, unless Cambridge Analytica kept the operations separate. 

CLC says that didn’t happen, with one document showing a shared calendar for the Trump and super PAC accounts and another displaying employee confusion over which end products were for which account.

Kaiser joined the Brock Pierce presidential campaign in July. And her appointment fits with the general ethos of many blockchain devotees. For example, she helped coin the #OwnYourData hashtag and formed the Own Your Data Foundation as a result of her Cambridge Analytica experience. 

Pierce, the co-founder of the Tether stablecoin and EOS blockchain, is on the ballot in 15 states and the District of Columbia, according to the campaign. He’s running on a platform that calls for eliminating the federal debt, establishing universal earned income, making healthcare affordable, ending the war on drugs, and, of course, embracing digital currencies.   

Though he’s not likely to win, the efforts of his campaign manager may yet change the dynamics of the race.