@RobertMaguire_: Google and Facebook worked with a dark money group to target anti-Muslim ads at swing voters.
Alice Clearwater
Info

SCOOP: In the final weeks of the 2016 elections, Google and Facebook worked with a dark money group to target anti-Muslim ads like this at swing voters. Docs obtained by @OpensecretsDC show Robert Mercer was the group's largest donor, giving $2 million
https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2018/04/exclusive-robert-mercer-backed-a-secretive-group-that-worked-with-facebook-google-to-target-anti-muslim-ads-at-swing-voters/

The Islamic States of America ad above was the last in a series of three ads the group ran in 2016. The Islamic State of France ad, which shows the Mona Lisa wearing a burka, and the spires of the Notre Dame replaced with the domes of a mosque. In the Islamic State of Germany ad, visitors are invited to “celebrate the arranged marriages of future jihadi soldiers” at a pork- and alcohol-free Oktoberfest. “You can even sell your daughter or sister to be married.”

The Washington Post reported at the time that Germans thought the video was absurd, so much so that they weren't sure it wasn't "produced for a comedy show"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/11/03/this-u-s-neoconservative-group-portrayed-germany-as-an-islamic-state-it-didnt-go-well/

It wasn't until nearly a year after the election that Bloomberg @Technology detailed, in a fascinating report, how Facebook and Google helped Secure America Now target voters in swing states:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-18/facebook-and-google-helped-anti-refugee-campaign-in-swing-states

But the enduring mystery behind the group was, Who's funding it? It has long been known that Ronald Lauder's political adviser ran the group, so it's perhaps no surprise that when we received the unredacted filing, he was a prominent donor:
https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2018/04/exclusive-robert-mercer-backed-a-secretive-group-that-worked-with-facebook-google-to-target-anti-muslim-ads-at-swing-voters/

And @OpenSecretsDC reported last month that a pro-Trump dark money group called the 45Committee had given the group $2 million:
https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2018/03/big-revenues-for-group-providing-cover-for-gop-donors-too-embarrassed-to-publicly-support-trump-in-2016/

But Robert Mercer had never been tied to the group. Until now:
https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2018/04/exclusive-robert-mercer-backed-a-secretive-group-that-worked-with-facebook-google-to-target-anti-muslim-ads-at-swing-voters/

One final tidbit: It appears that Secure America Now is still active. It made a cameo in the NYT bombshell a few weeks ago as a possible conduit for foreign influence in the Trump administration:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/21/us/politics/george-nader-elliott-broidy-uae-saudi-arabia-white-house-influence.html

One final, final tidbit: The "dark money churn" is mentioned in passing in this story. It links to this, which is one of my favorite things I got to write at CRP, because I got to be snarky and no one stopped me:
https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2016/05/the-multiplication-magic-behind-the-dark-money-churn/

Connections