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Hackers Steal $2.3M Earmarked for MAGA Hat Vendors

State GOP chairman says thieves 'had a level of familiarity' with party operations
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2020 6:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – Some $2.3 million in campaign cash was stolen from the Wisconsin Republican Party by hackers who "exhibited a level of familiarity with state party operations," says state GOP chairman Andrew Hitt. Officials say the hackers siphoned the money from the state party's federal account, which supports President Trump's reelection campaign, ABC News reports. Hitt said the hackers manipulated invoices and routing numbers to divert money that was supposed to go to vendors who handled mailers, MAGA hats, and other campaign swag. He tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it was a "devastating moment" when the campaign found out about the hack last Thursday.

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Hitt said the hackers "used a sophisticated phishing attack" to access the state GOP's system, but it does not appear that any voter data was taken. He said the FBI is investigating. "While a large sum of money was stolen, our operation is running at full capacity with all the resources deployed" to ensure Trump wins Wisconsin again, Hitt said. The RNC says it is supporting the Wisconsin GOP. The party was already far behind the Wisconsin Democratic Party on fundraising, with $23.7 million raised in the last two years compared to almost $59 million for the Democrats, according to campaign finance records. State party spokeswoman Courtney Beyer tells the AP that the Democrats have faced more than 800 attempted phishing attacks during the campaign, none of them successful. (Read more Election 2020 stories.)

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