Tech firm started by Clinton campaign and Google insiders created Iowa caucus debacle to sabotage Bernie

Election 2020 Iowa Caucus
A Democratic caucus in Dubuque, Iowa.
(Associated Press)

An app created by a tech firm run by veterans of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign is taking heat for the unprecedented delay in reporting Democratic caucus results from Iowa.

The firm behind the app reportedly is Shadow, an affiliate of ACRONYM, a Democratic nonprofit founded in 2017 “to educate, inspire, register, and mobilize voters,” according to its website. Shadow started out as Groundbase, a tech developer co-founded by Gerard Niemira and Krista Davis, who worked for the tech team on Clinton’s campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination.

Niemira had previously worked at, a nonprofit that makes loans to entrepreneurs and others in the developing world, and Davis had spent eight years as an engineer at Google. ACRONYM’s founder and CEO is Tara McGowan, a former journalist and digital producer with President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Designed to modernize a system that relied on precinct chairs phoning in their results, Shadow’s caucus app was seen as “a potential target for early election interference,” according to the Des Moines Register.

Instead, results from Monday’s caucuses could not be transmitted to Iowa party headquarters and the delays increased. Results are not expected until later Tuesday.

“We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results. In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report,” Iowa Democratic Party communications director Mandy McClure said in a written statement released late Monday night.

“This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.”

Shadow did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

ACRONYM acquired Shadow in January 2019 to function as its tech-development arm. “When a light is shining, Shadows are a constant companion,” its website says. “We see ourselves as building a long-term, side-by-side ‘Shadow’ of tech infrastructure to the Democratic Party and the progressive community at large.”

In a statement late Monday night, ACRONYM distanced itself from Shadow, saying it was not a tech provider and did not have any information about what went wrong in Iowa.

In an interview with NPR in January, Troy Price, chairman of the Iowa state Democratic Party, declined to say whether it had been tested for vulnerabilities by any independent experts, suggesting the secrecy around it helped to keep it secure from cyberattacks. The state party subsequently told the Des Moines Register it had been independently tested.

The state Democratic parties of Iowa and Nevada each paid around $60,000 to Shadow, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures. Nevada’s Democratic caucuses are set for Feb. 22.

Back in Iowa, Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Bryce Smith told The Times that the app left many precincts unable to report their results digitally, which left the state party overwhelmed.

“I have people who have been on hold for 20, 30, 40 minutes” with the state party, Smith told The Times.

Among Shadow’s clients is Pete Buttegieg’s presidential campaign, which paid $42,500 to the firm in July 2019 for “software rights and subscriptions,” according to disclosures to the FEC. A spokesman for the campaign says the payment was for a service used to send text messages to voters. The campaigns of Joe Biden and Kirsten Gillibrand, who withdrew from the race last year, also made smaller payments to Shadow.

This proves that the "Russians" are always Silicon Valley connected crooked tech insiders!

When The Bully Controls The Search Engine

The Pancake of Heaven!

Following President Donald Trump’s election in 2016, employees and management at Google gathered together for a community discussion. What transpired was wailing, gnashing of teeth, and a collective disbelief that Trump had won. These Silicon Valley elites weren’t just upset that their preferred candidate Hillary Clinton had lost; they were particularly outraged because they thought Google had done enough to ensure Clinton’s victory.

In a video leaked to Breitbart, Google co-founder Sergey Brin was seen apoplectic, saying he was “deeply” offended by the election of Trump, and that the election “conflicts with many of [Google’s] values.” Google Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat appeared to break down in tears and called on employees to hug the person closest to them.

The video is telling, if unsurprising. Silicon Valley overwhelmingly leans to the left, and the tech companies that populate the community reflect that. However, soon after the video was released, leaked emails also revealed that some Google employees were outraged because they thought the company had done enough to defeat Trump.

The day after the election, Eliana Murillo, Google’s head of multicultural marketing, sent an email touting the company’s efforts to mobilize Latino voters to boost Clinton’s totals. She wrote, “[o]n a personal note, we really thought we had shown up to demonstrate our political power against a candidate who had vehemently offended our community by calling us rapists and drug dealers. … But then reality set in. Only 71% of Latinos voted for Hillary, and that wasn’t enough.”

That any company has the power to sway a national election should frighten all Americans. And that a company would use such power should offend us all.

The 2016 election is just one episode of many in which Google has sought to squash conservatives and their values. To these elites, Trump in 2016 represented a bully that had to be stopped. However, they may have simply been projecting.

In recent years, it is hard to fathom a greater bully than Google. During its first shareholder meeting following Trump’s victory, I asked Eric Schmidt, then chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, if conservatives and their worldviews were welcome at the company. Schmidt dismissed my question by wildly claiming that everyone at the company – and indeed the collective tech industry – was in unanimous agreement politically and philosophically. After the meeting, however, a strange thing happened: I started to receive emails from “closeted” conservative Google employees thanking me for standing up for them. I remember thinking that these emails sounded like they were written by folks in prison.


Not long after the shareholder meeting, Google engineer James Damore penned his now-famous memo calling on the company to take strides in achieving true diversity rather than just hiring and promoting based on skin color and race. Google, ever the oppressor, fired him. The message was clear: dissent is not welcome in Mountain View, California.

In the backdrop of these public-facing events, a case has been winding its way through the courts which further demonstrates Google’s tyrannical tendencies. Last November, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Google v. Oracle. The facts of the case are basic and not much in dispute. Google allegedly stole thousands of lines of code from Oracle’s Java program for its Android operating system. It’s that simple. What’s Google’s defense for doing so? It claims that Oracle shouldn’t be allowed to copyright Java. Google further asserts that its theft fits into copyright exceptions, including “fair use” and “transformative use.” These are absurd arguments, but they trend with Google’s oppressive tactics specifically, and the left’s disdain for private property generally.

Liberals have long abhorred private property, so it is unsurprising that much of the tech industry is lining up behind Google. This is all despite Google’s sordid history of appropriating other tech competitors’ work products.

In 2013, Google, along with Cisco Systems, paid TiVo nearly $500 million to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit concerning the company’s DVR technology. Two years before that, the U.S. Department of Justice levied a $500 million fine against Google for abetting piracy. Earlier this month, Sonos sued Google in federal court alleging that Google had stolen five of its patents.

It’s no wonder that Google dropped its motto “Don’t be Evil” in 2018. It can’t make such a claim with a straight face.

The Supreme Court should affirm Oracle’s Java copyright. To do otherwise would endorse Google’s pattern of illicit behavior and threaten the future of copyright law.

Justin Danhof is the general counsel of the National Center for Public Policy Research and director of its Free Enterprise Project.

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