Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called on Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to hold a hearing on Cambridge Analytica and request pertinent documents from the company and key Trump campaign officials.
“Reports of egregious abuse of private data by Cambridge Analytica to influence the 2016 presidential election are extremely troubling, and I believe the Judiciary Committee needs to look into exactly what happened,” Feinstein said. “That’s why I call on Chairman Grassley to join me in seeking testimony from Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, whistleblower Christopher Wylie and Professor Aleksandr Kogan, who reportedly harvested the data from Facebook. I am also hopeful he will support document requests to Cambridge Analytica and Trump campaign officials.”
The letter to Chairman Grassley follows:
March 18, 2018
Honorable Charles Grassley
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Chairman Grassley:
The New York Times and the Observer of London reported allegations from a whistleblower that voter-profiling firm Cambridge Analytica exploited information from more than fifty million Facebook users without their knowledge or permission. Cambridge Analytica then used that information to target voters and shape public opinion on behalf of President Trump’s campaign, raising additional questions about the role of the company and its associates in influencing the 2016 election.
These reports detail allegations of an egregious breach of privacy and trust. The private information of more than 50 million Americans is reported to have been taken from social media accounts, without notice or consent, to game the political system. In addition, these reports outline serious allegations that foreign actors engaged with a U.S. campaign to create and implement a widespread influence operation that targeted American voters based on the personal information harvested from these accounts. Such activity implicates campaign finance laws and a broader conspiracy to defraud the United States, matters that fall squarely within this Committee’s oversight jurisdiction.
As you know, last year I sent a number of letters seeking information from Cambridge Analytica and some of the individuals named in these media reports, including Brad Parscale, Dan Scavino, and Steve Bannon. These requests have been ignored, and the Committee has taken no additional action.
These reports raise serious allegations, and the American people need to know how this happened, who knew about it, why steps were not taken sooner to bring it to an end, and what can be done to protect their privacy and the integrity of our elections going forward. I urge the Committee to get to the bottom of these questions by holding hearings on these matters, compelling the production of documents as well as the attendance of relevant witnesses. As a first step, I ask the Committee to follow up on pending requests and identify additional information and witnesses the Committee should hear from. I hope we can commence a bipartisan effort to investigate what actually happened.
Committee on the Judiciary