Trump campaign raises revenues by selling voter data to other campaigns
A few months before the US 2018 midterm elections, the Trump campaign team signed a contract with the newly-formed Virginia-based company Excelsior Strategies to exploit the first-party data the campaign had collected. The contract was set up by Trump's campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who built the list as the digital director of Trump's 2016 campaign and began renting it out soon after the November 2016 elections.
Subject to the Trump's campaign veto authority, Excelsior rents out this largest-ever comprehensive list of email addresses and cellphone numbers of up to 20 million supporters to candidates (including a campaign advocating the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh), conservative groups, and businesses. While it is not unusual for candidates to rent supporter data to and from other campaigns, this is thought to be the first time the campaign for a sitting president facing re-election has marketed its list. Doing so is legal under federal election law as long as the payments received in return are fair market value. Renting out the list is expected both to help Republican candidates around the country and bring in money for the Trump campaign, which gets 85% of the revenues Excelsior generates. Excelsior reportedly charges $35 per thousand addresses for email, and additional fees for pushing posts into supporters' Facebook timelines. Between the beginning of 2017 and June 2018, Excelsior's predecessor, Parscale Strategy, paid the Trump campaign over $236,000 in "list rental revenue".
Writer: Kenneth P. Vogel and Maggie Haberman
Publication: New York Times