DAMNING REPORT: Top Trump Donor Under Investigation for Role in Brexit Campaign

DAMNING REPORT: Top Trump Donor Under Investigation for Role in Brexit Campaign

Trump Donor Suspected as Data Puppet Master in Brexit Campaigns

Robert Mercer is a billionaire quantitative hedge fund executive and data analytics entrepreneur who is tied in very tightly with Donald Trump’s rise to power. He was Trump’s top donor, and also suggested top communications staffers for Trump’s campaign and White House, including Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway. As Reverb Press previously reported, Mercer’s company Renaissance Technology shares ownership of data mining company VEON (formerly VimpelCom) with Alfa Group, owned by a Russian billionaire with connections to Trump. Now, he is under investigation for breaking campaign finance laws in the United Kingdom for his role in the 2016 Brexit campaign, The Observer (owned by The Guardian) reported Sunday.

Related: EXCLUSIVE: Top Trump Financier Linked To Russian Big Data, Putin

The issue is whether Mercer was a secret puppeteer behind not one but two pro-Leave campaigns leading up to the referendum. British campaign finance law mandates a level playing field, which includes stipulations that no two campaigns can work together. The Observer reported that the British public widely believes that the two main pro-Brexit campaigns were disparate entities that not only were not in cahoots, but hated each other,

“On the surface, the two main campaigns, Leave.EU and Vote Leave, hated one other. Their leading lights, Farage and Boris Johnson, were sworn enemies for the duration of the referendum. The two campaigns bitterly refused even to share a platform.”

But The Observer claimed that an anonymous “concerned source” leaked a secret document regarding seemingly innocuous intellectual property issues that links both main Brexit campaigns to Mercer, the American billionaire who bankrolled Trump. The Observer claims to have spent 3 months investigating the connections between data analytics firms AggregateIQ and Cambridge Analytica based on this tip. And they discovered that AggregateIQ, hired by Vote Leave, and Cambridge Analytica, contracted by Leave.EU, shared significant corporate overlap, and in fact, shared a database.

“Because, legally, these two companies – AggregateIQ in Canada and Cambridge Analytica, an American company based in London, have nothing to connect them publicly. But this intellectual property licence shown to the Observer tells a different story. This created a binding “exclusive” “worldwide” agreement “in perpetuity” for all of AggregateIQ’s intellectual property to be used by SCL Elections (a British firm that created Cambridge Analytica with Mercer).

“The companies may have had different owners but they were legally bound together. And, the Observer has learned, they were working together on a daily basis at the time of the referendum – both companies were being paid by Mercer-funded organisations to work on Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign in America. What is more, several anonymous sources reveal the two companies, working on two separate British Leave campaigns, actually shared the same database at the time.

“In fact AggregateIQ had a non-compete clause. Leave.EU announced in November 2015 it was working with Cambridge Analytica which means that AggregateIQ must have had explicit permission to work with Vote Leave.”

The Observer emphasizes that “none of this was visible” to the public. The two campaigns, seemingly supported by two different data companies, sniped at each other, pursued different strategies, and focused on different constituencies,

“Leave.EU targeting Ukippers and disaffected working-class Labour voters with images of queues of refugees. Vote Leave targeted middle England with a message about returning £350m a week from Europe to the NHS.”

If this is true, then the two Brexit campaigns were two heads of a hydra, used to divide and conquer the masses. And even key staff of the two campaigns may not have been aware of it.

The US and the UK have not historically been natural fits for proto-fascist ideologues. In gravitating toward nationalistic ideologies, both Brexiteers and Trump supporters may have led their countries to peer over the edge of a cliff. But Robert Mercer gave them a strong shove, with Russian oligarchs waiting at the bottom to pick up the pieces. We are living through the greatest betrayal against democracy in history, and the people behind it are only getting started.

Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.