Cyber-Thieves Infiltrate Wisconsin Republican Party’s Federal Account; $2.3 Million Dollars Stolen
In the News: Cyber-thieves stole $2.3 million dollars from the Wisconsin Republican Party’s account, which is used to help fiance incumbent Trump’s re-election campaign, the Associated Press (AP) reported last Thursday.
Andrew Hitt, the Wisconsin chairman of the Republican Party, said he found suspicious activity within the account and reported it to FBI officials on Oct. 22.
Hitt said the FBI was currently investigating the matter, although Brett Banner, an FBI spokesman, in dialogue with the AP, said that federal policy does not authorize “the FBI … to confirm or deny [such] an investigation.”
The hackers, according to Hitt, fraudulently altered invoices from four Trump paraphernalia and mail distributing vendors, in order to funnel funds from the vendors to them, said Hitt.
The attack was believed to be started as a phishing attempt, Hitt stated. Alec Zimmerman, a party spokesman, added that no data from the hacking seemed to be stolen.
The money was stolen from the federal account of the state party which amounted to $1.1 million dollars, Zimmerman stated.
“[The hack has] got to hurt them and their ability to function at this crucial moment,” said Matt Rothschild, leader of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a group that monitors campaign finances, in response to the event. “I can’t see any upside for them in this matter.”
Hitt, however, offered a more positive outlook to the dilemma stating: “While a large sum of money was stolen, our operation is running at full capacity,” minimizing the impact of the situation.
Wisconsin has had over one million ballots cast as of Thursday, Oct. 22, according to The Guardian, and a notable amount of Wisconsin communities have totaled a voter turnout of more than double the amount they saw in 2016.
A ‘Real Clear Politics’ polling shows Biden up over Trump by 6.4% in Wisconsin and up 7.8% nationally. In 2016, Trump won the popular vote in Wisconsin by a margin of 23,000. Wisconsin, again, is a key battleground state for this year’s November election.
Where did this Happen?: Wisconsin.
When did this happen?: This was reported to the AP on Thursday Oct. 28, though Hitt became aware of the breach on Oct. 22.
What the left is saying: Former Florida Congressman (D) Alan Greyson tweeted:
“Wow. Someone just stole almost as much money from the Trump campaign as Trump has stolen,” he said. “Not as much as Parscale stole, though. As Cicero said, there is no honor among thieves.”
What the Right is saying: Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), and U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) offered a more diplomatic message of bi-partisanship towards the issue stating:
“Unfortunately, just today, Americans learned that the Republican Party of Wisconsin was the victim of hackers, who stole over $2 million from the Party’s accounts. This is not a partisan issue: the same report revealed that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has likewise been targeted by hackers more than 800 times. We must improve our cybersecurity to collectively defend our shared electoral infrastructure.”