Wisconsin GOP Claims Hackers Stole Millions From Trump Account
Wisconsin is one of the battleground states Donald Trump must win in order to secure his re-election, but he’s been having a rough time lately, falling in the polls to Joe Biden not just in Wisconsin, but several other key states as well. The Trump campaign has already been struggling financially on its own in the wake of Brad Parscale’s breakdown and the revelation he funneled donations into his own bank account to subsidize his lavish Florida lifestyle. Now Andrew Hitt, the Chair of the Wisconsin Republican Party, is claiming that hackers have stolen $2.3 million in funds from a specific account set aside for the Trump campaign in their state.
Hitt said the hackers manipulated invoices from four vendors who were being paid for direct mail for Trump’s reelection efforts as well as for pro-Trump material such as hats to be handed out to supporters. Invoices and other documents were altered so when the party paid them, the money went to the hackers instead of the vendors, Hitt said. The money was stolen from the state party’s federal account, which currently contains about $1.1 million, but that number fluctuates daily because of quick-moving resources late in the campaign. Money in the federal account can only be spent on federal races and donations are capped at $10,000 per individual each calendar year.
But Republicans aren’t alone in losing money thanks to online phishing scams and other hacks; theirs is just one of more than 800 attempted phishing attacks for financial gain targeting the Wisconsin Democratic Party as well this campaign cycle, but none has been successful. Campaign finance reports filed this week in Wisconsin show Democrats have raised far more money than Republicans. The state Democratic Party raised nearly $59 million over the past two years compared with just $23.7 million for Republicans
Trump campaign officials in Wisconsin learned about the alleged hack from media reports and were furious that state officials had not briefed them on how it might impact operations, according to a Trump campaign official who requested anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss internal conversations.
Sharp-eyed Twitter users weren’t so sure about Hitt’s claims of being hacked, however.
THIS IS NOT A HACK!@wisgop never lost control of its bank account; they just didn't bother to confirm the recipient of payments before sending money.
This is incompetence and/or an insider taking advantage of terrible internal controls. https://t.co/mdn31G9GMe
— Pé (@4everNeverTrump) October 29, 2020
Re. the “hack”/theft of Trump campaign money from the Wisconsin GOP:
The state’s Republican Senate President Roger Roth said recently that Trump’s campaign “is weighing heavily on our races here” and could drag other candidates down. https://t.co/GPeWPMx8YZ
— Caroline Orr Bueno (@RVAwonk) October 29, 2020