To ID Rich Donors, Romney Uses Secret Data-Mining

Marketing databases reveal purchase history, family details
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 24, 2012 11:46 AM CDT
Mitt Romney shakes hands during a campaign event at Watson Truck and Supply, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, in Hobbs, NM.   (AP Photo/Hobbs News-Sun, Todd Bailey)

(Newser) – Team Obama may no longer be the data-savviest kid on the block. Mitt Romney's campaign is running a behind-the-scenes operation that uses data mining to ID potential donors—rich ones. Texas analytics firm Buxton has been employed by Romney to analyze thousands of databases containing a trove of legally obtained inside information on Americans, from their purchasing history to their family size to whether they go to church, the AP reports. The databases are typically purchased for a pretty penny by corporations seeking to target potential customers; Romney 2012 appears to be the first presidential campaign to get in on the game.

One analysis, for instance, churned through data related to 2 million West Coast homes to ID those with deep enough pockets to provide $2,500 contributions, and a likely willingness to do so. "I can look at data of any kind and say, 'I want to know who that $100 donor could be,'" says Buxton's CEO. A previous political effort suggests he's right: In 2006, the company produced 1,000 names for a Connecticut campaign to meet a write-in ballot requirement; 900 got on board. Buxton previously worked with a former Bain colleague of Romney's; the AP notes the Buxton has been helping Romney since at least June. Click through for the full report.

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