“An under-the-radar startup funded by billionaire Eric Schmidt has become a major technology vendor for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign,” Adam Pasick and Tim Fernholz report for Quartz. “The Groundwork, according to Democratic campaign operatives and technologists, is part of efforts by Schmidt—the executive chairman of Google parent-company Alphabet—to ensure that Clinton has the engineering talent needed to win the election. And it is one of a series of quiet investments by Schmidt that recognize how modern political campaigns are run, with data analytics and digital outreach as vital ingredients that allow candidates to find, court, and turn out critical voter blocs.”

“But campaigns—lacking stock options and long-term job security—find it hard to attract the elite engineering talent that Facebook, Google, and countless startups rely on. That’s also part of the problem that Schmidt and the Groundwork are helping Clinton’s team to solve,” Pasick and Fernholz report. “The Groundwork is one of the Clinton campaign’s biggest vendors, billing it for more than $177,000 in the second quarter of 2015, according to federal filings. Yet many political operatives know little about it.”

Its website consists entirely of a grey-on-black triangle logo that suggests “the digital roots of change” while also looking vaguely like the Illuminati symbol:

The Groundwork logo

The Groundwork logo

 
“Schmidt did not respond to several requests for comment. But several Democratic political operatives and technologists, who would only speak anonymously to avoid offending Schmidt and the Clinton campaign, confirmed that the Groundwork is funded at least in part by the Alphabet chairman,” Pasick and Fernholz report. “Sources say the Groundwork was created to minimize the technological gap that occurs between presidential campaign cycles while pushing forward the Big Data infrastructure that lies at the heart of modern presidential politics. There is also another gap in play: The shrinking distance between Google and the Democratic Party. Former Google executive Stephanie Hannon is the Clinton campaign’s chief technology officer, and a host of ex-Googlers are currently employed as high-ranking technical staff at the Obama White House. Schmidt, for his part, is one of the most powerful donors in the Democratic Party.”

“One former Obama staffer, Elan Kriegel, who now leads analytics for the Clinton campaign, suggested the technology accounted for perhaps two percentage points of the campaign’s four percent margin of victory in 2012,” Pasick and Fernholz report. “With tech policy an increasingly important part of the president’s job — consider merely the issues of NSA surveillance and antitrust policy, not to mention self-driving cars and military robots — helping to elect yet another president could be incredibly valuable to Schmidt and to Google.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s very, uh… interesting how they compile a comprehensive record of each voter’s Facebook pages liked, volunteer contacts, events attended, money donated, etc. and assign them a score based on how strongly they support the candidate. If you think you’re not being watched online, you’re not thinking.

SEE ALSO:
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014
Eric Schmidt says Google ‘far more secure’ than Apple, denies harvesting data – October 3, 2014
Google’s Eric Schmidt spurns Obama cabinet post offer – December 11, 2012
Obama to reward Google’s Schmidt with Cabinet post? – December 5, 2012
Google outfoxes U.S. FCC – April 17, 2012
Google Street View cars grabbed locations of cellphones, computers – July 26, 2011
Glenn Beck: Be wary of Google, they way they think is creepy (with video) – February 17, 2011
Consumer Watchdog calls for probe of Google’s inappropriate relationship with Obama administration – January 25, 2011
FCC cites Android ‘openness’ as reason for neutered ‘Net Neutrality’ – December 22, 2010
U.S. FCC approves so-called ‘net-neutrality’ regulations – December 21, 2010
Google CEO Schmidt: If you don’t like being in Google Street View then ‘just move’ – October 28, 2010
Consumer Watchdog ads mock Google CEO Eric Schmidt (with video) – September 2, 2010
Google CEO Schmidt: Change your name to escape ‘cyber past’ – August 18, 2010
Wired: Google, CIA Invest in ‘future’ of Web monitoring – July 29, 2010
37 states join probe into Google’s questionable Wi-Fi data collection – July 22, 2010
Google Street View Wi-Fi data included passwords and email – June 18, 2010

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]