This story was written for the AP and I think was intended to be a news article. It is in my opinion an Op Ed piece. It is also my opinion it was written in a style to be negative to the Romney Campaign. Again my opinion is that it is so filled with pretensions, innuendo, and sly adjectives that it reads more like the intro to a Tom Clancy style novel than news. Things like “secretive data-mining project” “sway presidential elections” “ferret out Americans' consumer behavior and habits.” Make for great copy but poor reporting.
What I have tried to do is break down each paragraph into the basic facts and leave out all enhancements. Those are displayed as the bold and underlined portions.
Mr. Gillum’s article would I think make a well written pro Obama editorial and I have included the article as fair use in this discussion of the same. I have included attribution to him as well.
AP Exclusive: Romney uses secretive data-mining
By JACK GILLUM, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Building upon its fundraising prowess, Mitt Romney's campaign began a secretive data-mining project this summer to sift through Americans' personal information — including their purchasing history and church attendance — to identify new and likely wealthy donors, The Associated Press has learned.
The Associated Press has learned that the Romney campaign has begun to use marketing research which uses data-mining to identify new donors.
The project employs strategies similar to those the business world uses to influence the way Americans shop and think. Now they're being used to sway presidential elections. The same personal data consumers give away — often unwittingly when they swipe their credit cards or log into Facebook — is now being used by the people who might one day occupy the White House.
This project will use similar procedures to those used in the business world. It will collect public data from consumer purchases and from social media web sites.
For Romney's data-mining project, which began as early as June, the Republican candidate quietly turned to a little-known but successful analytics firm that previously performed marketing work for a colleague tied to Bain & Co., the management-consulting firm that Romney once led.
This project which may have begun in June or perhaps at a later date, will use an analytics firm that once did marketing work for an un-named person who is in some unknown way associated to Bain & Co. The management-consulting firm Bain & Co was once run by Mitt Romney.
The head of Buxton Co. of Fort Worth, Texas, chief executive Tom Buxton, confirmed to the AP his company's efforts, which help Romney identify potentially wealthy and previously untapped Republican donors across the country. The Romney campaign declined to discuss on the record its work with Buxton or the project's overall success.
Buxton Co. of Fort Worth, Texas, is a privately owned company whose chief executive and owner is Tom Buxton. Mr. Buxton has confirmed they are performing the work and that the goal is to identify potential donors for Mr. Romney. The Romney campaign declined to discuss on the record its work with Buxton Co.
There are no records of payments to Buxton from Romney's campaign, the Republican National Committee or a joint fundraising committee. Under federal law, companies cannot use corporate treasury funds or resources, such as proprietary data analysis, for in-kind contributions to federal campaigns.
It is not known at this time if the work has been completed.
The effort by Romney appears to be the first example of a political campaign using such extensive data analysis. President Barack Obama's re-election campaign has long been known as data-savvy, but Romney's project appears to take a page from the Fortune 500 business world and dig deeper into available consumer data.
This may or may not be the first time a presidential campaign has used this level of data analysis. President Barack Obama's re-election campaign has also used data. The Romney campaign is using the same technique as is used in the consumer market.
Buxton said he's working for the Romney campaign because he wants "to be on the winning team."
Tom Buxton says he supports Romney.
He once worked with a former Romney business partner to provide insights, for example, about where Petco should open a new pet-supply store to maximize profits. In addition to Buxton, the data-mining project was described to the AP by a Romney fundraiser who spoke on condition of anonymity because the fundraiser did not want to face repercussions for describing internal campaign processes.
Buxton & Co. was once hired by an un-named person who was once in business with Romney. The Buxton & Co. provided marketing analysis for the best store locations for this un-named person possibly for Petco stores. An un-named Romney fundraiser who spoke on condition of anonymity described the project to the AP.
Businesses use those kinds of analytics firms to answer key questions for clients, such as where to build a retail store or where to mail pamphlets touting a new product. The analysis doesn't directly bring in campaign contributions, but it generates the equivalent of sales leads for Romney's campaign.
Marketing research companies like Buxton & Co provide answers about marketing to the clients who hire them. The analysis provided to the Romney campaign will not directly bring in any contributions to the campaign. The Romney campaign may however use this information to try to raise donations.
The project relies upon a sophisticated analysis by powerful computers of thousands of commercially available, expensive databases that are lawfully bought and sold behind the scenes by corporations, including details about credit accounts, families and children, voter registrations, charitable contributions, property tax records and survey responses. It combines marketing data with what is known in this specialized industry as psychographic data analysis, which tries to ferret out Americans' consumer behavior and habits.
The Buxton Company will use computers to analyze commercially available databases of information about people in the USA. These records will contain financial data, census information, voting registration and responses to survey questions. This data will be used to determine the activity, interest, opinions, values and behavior of the public.
An early test analyzed details of more than 2 million households near San Francisco and elsewhere on the West Coast and identified thousands of people who would be comfortably able and inclined to give Romney at least $2,500 or more.
Early analysis data has successfully identified thousands of people on the West Coast who might be inclined to donate to the Romney campaign. It has been determined by the data that some of the donations may exceed $2500.
An AP analysis this week determined that Romney's campaign has made impressive inroads into even traditionally Democratic neighborhoods, collecting more than $350,000 this summer around San Francisco in contributions that averaged $400 each. High-dollar donors have been essential to Romney's election effort, unlike Obama, who relies on more contributors giving smaller amounts.
The Romney campaign has collected more than $350,000 in the traditionally Democratic San Francisco area. These contributions have averaged $400 each. It is essential to both the Romney campaign and the Obama campaign that they receive donations toward their re-election efforts. The Obama campaign uses different fund raising tactics than the Romney campaign.
Romney and the GOP have out-fundraised Obama's re-election effort for the past three months.
The Obama re-election effort to raise funds has failed for the last three months.
The fate of the presidency may depend on who raises more money in the campaign, whose cost for the first time is approaching $2 billion. That figure includes hundreds of millions of dollars spent by super political action committees that accept unlimited and in some cases effectively anonymous contributions from millionaires, companies, labor groups and others to pay for television campaign advertisements across the nation.
The cost of this election process, for the first time is approaching $2 billion dollars. That figure includes dollars spent by political action committees, anonymous contributions, companies, labor groups and others. The money is used to pay for television campaign advertisements across the nation. It is possible that the candidate who raises the most money will win the election.
Buxton confirmed that the data-mining project began with the help of Dick Boyce, Romney's former Bain & Co. colleague, after Romney joined fundraising forces with the Republican National Committee. Buxton expressed such confidence in his business and analysis methods that, in nearly two decades of running his firm, he told AP he has always been able to answer essential questions for customers.
Buxton confirmed that Dick Boyce, a former colleague of Romney has helped to start the project. Romney has joined fundraising forces with the Republican National Committee. Buxton stated his company has been successful for 20 years.
"I can look at data of any kind and say, 'I want to know who that $100 donor could be,'" Buxton said. "We look at data of any kind."
Buxton said. "We look at data of any kind." I can ask , 'I want to know who that $100 donor could be.”
Obama's campaign employs its own form of data analysis to lure potential supporters, via Facebook and Twitter, to fine-tune messages for supporters and potential donors. The Obama campaign declined to comment on its internal fundraising practices, although Buxton said it doesn't work with Obama's campaign.
Obama's campaign employs its own form of data analysis of Facebook and Twitter, to acquire supporters and potential donors. The Obama campaign declined to comment on its fundraising practices. Tom Buxton said his company doesn't work with the Obama campaign.
Romney's campaign has also been secretive about how it raises its money, and most fundraising events have been closed to the press. Unlike Obama, Romney's campaign has declined to publicly identify the names of major fundraisers, known as bundlers, who have helped amass much of its money. Details of this project have not been made public until now.
Like the Obama campaing the Romney's campaign has also declined to comment on its fundraising practices. Unlike Obama, Romney's campaign has declined to publicly identify the names of major fundraisers. This is the first news report about the project.
Buxton is not listed as a vendor in any of the campaign's finance reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission, although some campaigns do not report expenses until the vendor sends them a bill.
Some campaigns do not report expenses until they are billed for them. It is unknown if Buxton & Co. has billed the campaign.
When AP initially asked Buxton about its work for Romney, it declined to acknowledge that it helped raise money for the RNC, even as its own website displayed a prominent log-in page for "2012 presidential donor prospecting." That web address contained the letters "RNC" — a common abbreviation for the Republican National Committee. After the AP's continued questioning, the company replaced the "RNC" letters in the web address with a generic "campaign" the next day.
Tom Buxton declined comment on fund raising for the RNC. The Buxton & Co. website displayed a log-in page for "2012 presidential donor prospecting." That web address contained the letters "RNC". "RNC" is a common abbreviation for the Republican National Committee. The letters "RNC" in the web address have been replaced with a generic "campaign".
This is not Buxton's first foray into politics: In 2006, the company produced 1,000 names for a Connecticut campaign to meet a write-in ballot requirement, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram then reported, and 900 of them signed up.
The Buxton Company has worked for campaigns before. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Buxton & Company’s work for Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman was successful in 2006.
Few in Washington campaign circles recognized the work of Buxton, although it lists thousands of other clients in the public and private sector, including hospitals and local governments.
Buxton & Co. is not well known in Washington. Buxton & Co. has many clients both private and public.