Three weeks after Donald Trump was elected president, a data company owned by one of his wealthiest supporters began cashing in.
The company, Cambridge Analytica, inked a deal with the nation’s leading conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, for the purpose of hitting up Trump voters for donations.
The marrying of the two institutions was made easier by a shared principle. Cambridge Analytica is run by Rebekah Mercer, who with her father provided major cash infusions for Trump and groups supporting him during the 2016 campaign. Mercer is also a board member of the Heritage Foundation, the nation’s flagship conservative think tank.
The article notes that Heritage has used Cambridge Analytica in the past, including from late 2015 to June 2016 when the firm provided "statistical models to identify new donors" and developed digital ads for the think tank.
Even though Heritage already has a large donor base (having collected nearly $80 million from donors in 2016), Cambridge Analytica thinks it can provide the think tank with another 600,000 new potential donors.
Earlier in the year, Heritage had a huge shakeup which led some to speculate that the think tank could lose a big chunk of its donor support.