Dick Boyce, a Bain colleague, introduced Romney to a tiny analytics firm in Fort Worth, Texas to suss out big-ticket prospective donors, AP reports today. The firm – Buxton & Co – was “quietly employed” by Romney back in June to complete a secretive data mining project that uses classic business acumen and pervasive consumer data to identify new wealthy Republicans who would potentially fund Romney’s campaign.
As AP explains:
The project relies upon a sophisticated analysis by powerful computers of thousands of commercially available, expensive databases that are lawfully bought and sold behind the scenes by corporations, including details about credit accounts, families and children, voter registrations, charitable contributions, property tax records and survey responses. It combines marketing data with what is known in this specialized industry as psychographic information about Americans.
The project employs strategies typical to advertising agencies and is quite tech-savvy (for Romney, anyway). More importantly, the project offers a glimpse into Romney’s well- oiled fundraising machine, which it not only outpacing Obama’s – but has also been completely cloaked by Romney’s team and barring a speculative bundler’s list published by USA Today, we know next to nothing else about.
There are no records of payment to Buxton from Romney’s campaign, the RNC, or a joint fundraising committee. This covert data-mining project goes a long way toward explaining the astronomical rate of current campaign spending, fast-approaching the $2 billion mark.
But this is not to excuse the incumbent, who has also put together a highly sophisticated digital operation for the 2012 race, similarly engaging in data-mining of voters’ personal info.