With British-based Cambridge Analytica's corrupt and dubious practices gaining limelight world over, and the governments in many countries launching independent investigations examining their respective electoral processes, the political analysis firm now faces accusations of violating the U.S. election law.
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A grassroots organization, Common Cause, has filed complaints with the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission, FEC, stating numerous foreign national employees of Cambridge Analytica and its parent firm SCL Group were involved in a major way in essential decisions, including how to spend money, made by U.S. campaigns during the 2014 and 2016 election cycles, when foreign nationals are prohibited under the U.S. law from participating directly or indirectly in such processes, the Common Cause noted.
"The companies, staffed almost entirely by foreign nationals, did more than $5 million worth of work for the presidential campaigns of both Donald Trump and [Texas Republican senator] Ted Cruz as well as millions of dollars more for other campaigns and Super PACs [political action committees] including the John Bolton Super PAC and Make America Number 1," Common Cause said in a statement.
The political consultancy has said it has been operating in Malaysia, Australia, Brazil, Kenya, and Mexico, and intends to expand into China. Local subsidiaries in the region have been working to help politicians sway the popular opinions.
In Malaysia, CA Political, a local subsidiary supported Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition in Kedah state during the 2013 general election, with "a targeted messaging campaign highlighting their improvements since 2008," a statement on CA Politica’s website noted.
Cambridge Analytica has also been linked to Chinese firms tied to former mercenary Erik Prince who founded the private military company Blackwater, among others.
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CEO Alexander Nix told a Channel 4 reporter — who posed as a “fixer for a wealthy client hoping to get candidates elected in Sri Lanka” — that the company had “a web of shadowy front companies”, including charities and activist groups, that it used to influence elections, the Asia Times reported.
meanwhile in India right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced severe backlash for his link to the political consultancy which manipulated people's information. SCL India, a venture between the SCL group in London and Ovleno Business Intelligence, has said both India's major political parties are its clients.
In a 2016 interview, Amrish Tyagi, the head of SCL India, told a regional channel, about his involvement with U.S. Pesident Donald Trump's campaign. The South Asian country has taken down the local website of the British firm.
India's information technology ministry has also launched an investigation and has also set a March 31 deadline for the London-based political consultancy to respond if the company was in anyway responsible in illegal harvesting of Facebook data on Indian citizens.