Press Releases

DPO demands answers from Dennis Richardson, Oregon GOP, on Cambridge Analytica ties

Mar 29, 2018

For Immediate Release
Contact: Molly Woon
press [at] dpo [dot] org


DPO demands answers from Dennis Richardson, Oregon GOP, on Cambridge Analytica ties 

Records indicate Richardson and former GOP chair Art Robinson hired data mining firm in 2014 

March 29, 2018 
PORTLAND — In the wake of news that a U.K.-based firm, Cambridge Analytica, illegally mined data from the Facebook accounts of at least 50 million Americans to influence the 2016 Presidential election, the Democratic Party of Oregon is calling on Republican leaders to explain themselves and their ties to the political firm.
What we know: 
  • In 2014 Art Robinson, candidate for Congressional District 4, admittedly worked with Cambridge Analytics on“rehabilitating” his image. Robinson was Cambridge Analytica’s first U.S. political client. During his campaign, Robinson concurrently served as chair of the Oregon Republican Party. 
  • A 2014 memo written by Cambridge Analytica about their support of Art Robinson discloses that they “effectively managed the campaign in its entirety…”. The memo details that the organization was managing all aspects of Art Robinson’s campaign including: managing campaign social media platforms; planning and deploying extensive robocalling to voters; managing paid and volunteer canvassing and calling to voters; fundraising; and media relations management.
  • Also in 2014, then candidate for Governor and current Oregon Secretary of State, Dennis Richardson purchased services from Cambridge Analytica for a “microtargeting survey.”
  • Since 2014, Richardson has spent over $100,000 on direct expenditures to Facebook — significantly more than any other Oregon candidate.
  • Close behind in Facebook expenditures? Rep. Julie Parrish, owner of PIP Communications and campaign manager for Richardson’s 2016 race for Secretary of State and the failed No on Measure 101 campaign earlier this year.  
What we don’t know: 
  • Did Dennis Richardson receive illegally obtained data from his contract with Cambridge Analytica? 
  • If so, how did Richardson use this compromised information in his campaigns?
  • Have any public dollars been used for microtargeting with illegally obtained Cambridge Analytica data? 
  • Was Art Robinson, as chair of the Oregon Republican Party in 2014, aware of the illegal tactics employed by Cambridge Analytica in 2014? 
  • As former campaign manager for Dennis Richardson, does Rep. Julie Parrish have access to illegally obtained personal information? Did she attempt to use such data in the Measure 101 campaign? 
  • As Oregon’s chief elections officer, what is Dennis Richardson doing to ensure Oregonians that their private data will be protected? Will he continue to cooperate with the Trump administration on their misguided work around voter fraud? 
“I am deeply troubled that Oregon’s chief elections officer has a documented relationship with Campaign Analytica, a firm that is under international scrutiny for using illegal data mining practices to influence U.S. elections,” said Jeanne Atkins, Chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon. “I do not dispute that online organizing is a key component of how political campaigns organize and contact voters. However, there is no doubt that Cambridge Analytica has repeatedly crossed the line and broken laws. Oregon voters are right to be angry that they were used as a test case in 2014. We must demand answers.”