Well, I doubt this was one surprise President Trump was looking for…
It has just been announced that $2.3 million has been stolen from GOP funds in the state of Wisconsin. According to the Star Tribune and the Associated Press, the theft was noticed last week when unusual and rathe suspicious activity was detected on a few invoices. After looking into the matter further, the Wisconsin Republican Party found that a massive amount of funding was missing.
“Hackers stole $2.3 million from the Wisconsin Republican Party’s account that was being used to help reelect President Donald Trump in the key battleground state, the party’s chairman told The Associated Press. The party noticed the suspicious activity on Oct. 22 and contacted the FBI on Friday, said Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt.”
Although there are very few days left before the election, Hitt says the money would have gone far in making “snap spending decision” in the state.
Hitt “said the hackers manipulated invoices from four vendors who were being paid to send out direct mail for Trump’s reelection efforts and to provide pro-Trump material such as hats that could 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 also mentioned that the attack could have begun as a simple phishing “attempt,” which the party regularly receives, as do most political endeavors involving large amounts of money. After the initial attempt, the RNC sent out warnings to all of its offices and staff to be on the lookout for suspected cyber-attacks such as this and implement safety precautions to ward them off.
It is unclear at this point whether or not the successful theft was related to that first attempt or not. The FBI is currently investigating. It has been noted that the funds seem to have been siphoned over a period of several weeks, if not months, instead of all at once.
This would suggest to some that it was an inside job, as does the Wisconsin GOP’s official statement on the matter, which states that the “criminals exhibited a level of familiarity with state party operations at the end of the campaign to commit to this crime.” No doubt, the FBI will have questions about whose job it was to keep track of these accounts and how they managed to not notice the deterioration of such a massive amount of funds for such a long period of time.
However, it also suggests that it wasn’t really some dirty political trick to try and stop President Trump from winning the election or even the state. Instead, it’s far more likely that someone or several someones who noticed an opportunity of greed and took it. Otherwise, it is believed that this would not have been the only theft to occur.
Wisconsin is the only state to have been stolen from at this point, and there are other states, such as Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, that have made much more money for the GOP campaign.
Nevertheless, it does constrict the Republican Party’s moves for the remaining days before the election, especially since they were already trailing the Democrats in funding. According to the most recent reporting of donations, the amount stolen makes up almost ten percent of their total fundraising over the last two years.
So maybe there was at least some political motivation. At this point, all options are on the table.
However, the party is optimistic that they can still get their goal of winning the state over for Trump done. In their official statement, they stated, “While a large sum of money was stolen, our operation is running at full capacity with all the resources deployed to ensure President Donald J. Trump carries Wisconsin on November 3rd.”
As NBC News reported, Trump did win the state in 2016 and by fewer than 23,000 votes, and currently, polls show a tight race between himself and Biden, “usually with Biden ahead by single digits and within the margin of error.” Both Trump and Biden have planned visits to the state within the next few days.