The Washington, D.C.-based technology firm behind the phone app that caused major delays and “inconsistencies” in the Iowa Democratic caucus is operated by Hillary Clinton’s campaign veterans that have also conveniently worked with Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign as well.
Shadow, Inc. is connected to the nonprofit progressive firm ACRONYM, and their CEO Gerard Niemira worked for Hillary Clinton as a director of product for her campaign. His associate Krista Davis, who now holds the position of chief technology officer at Shadow, Inc., was previously a software engineer for Clinton’s campaign. In addition, Shadow, Inc.’s product manager Ahna Rao held the position of special assistant to the CTO for Clinton’s campaign.
The HuffPost recently reported that state finance records indicated that the Iowa Democratic Party paid Shadow Inc. over $60,000 in two separate installments for the app (that was just used in Iowa) during the last two months of 2019.
In addition, it was also reported that the Buttigieg campaign “gave tens of thousands of dollars to Shadow” in July for “software rights and subscriptions.”
The app in question was created to make calculating caucus results easier and quicker, and also to increase the integrity of the votes with less vulnerability to hacks. What really happened though, is that there were problems with the app that made it impossible for most of the precincts to even report the results of the caucus. The issues caused such a problem that none of the actual results were able to be officially tallied Monday night.
Chad Wolf, acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary told Fox News Tuesday morning that the Department of Homeland Security offered to check the security of the app to ensure that it was safe from hackers. The Iowa Democratic Party declined to have the app tested. Wolf said that this does not necessarily mean that the app was hacked, it just means that it could not handle the high number of users. Without testing, we have no way to know for sure.
In a savvy move, as soon as the issues with the app were spotlighted, ACRONYM immediately began to distance itself from Shadow, Inc. In fact, they actually made a statement indicating that they are ‘only an investor’ in Shadow, Inc. This statement differs greatly from the statement Tara McGowan, head of ACRONYM, made in January 2019 when she said that her firm had just “acquired” Shadow, Inc.
It is notable that the Iowa Republican Party had no issues at all with their caucuses. Democrats, however, should be concerned, as the Nevada Democratic Party is prepared to use Shadow, Inc.’s allegedly faulty app for the scheduled caucuses in February.