It looks like Lina Hidalgo has more friends high up in the world of Silicone Valley. El Commandante has been dialing for dollars and is doing quite well with a $30k donation from Mayor Pete’s financial investment chair, Swati Mylavarapu. Mylavarapu spent years working at startups like Square before becoming a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in 2015. After the 2016 election, she cofounded the Arena, an accelerator program that began by supporting progressive startups like Flippable, and now trains and supports candidates themselves in vulnerable red districts to turn them blue. She also started an investment fund, Incite Ventures, and a nonprofit organization, Incite Labs, with her husband, Nest cofounder Matt Rogers. (TechCrunch has called them “the definitive Silicon Valley power couple.”). Rogers co-founded Nest, a supplier of monitoring and other gadgets for the home, which was bought by Google in 2014 for $3.2 billion in cash. .
But wait there is more…
According to the New Yorker one of Swati’s tech election startup apps was beta tested in Buttigieg’s run:
A number of people associated with Shadow have close ties to Democratic Party officials. Shadow was launched by Acronym, a nonprofit that promotes Democratic candidates, in January of 2019. Acronym’s founder and C.E.O., Tara McGowan, is married to Michael Halle, a senior adviser to Pete Buttigieg. David Plouffe, who served as President Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, is on Acronym’s board. After the app’s failure on Monday, a spokesperson for Acronym distanced the organization from Shadow on Twitter.
For decades, American election systems have run on technology sold and maintained by private, for-profit companies. Shadow appears to have built a texting tool used by the Buttigieg and Biden campaigns. F.E.C. filings show that the Buttigieg campaign paid the firm $42,500 and the Biden campaign paid it $1,225. If it wasn’t previously obvious to the Democratic Party, or to Shadow, or to the Biden and Buttigieg campaigns, that this arrangement might be perceived as a conflict of interest, it is certainly obvious today. It did not take long before rumors spread on social media that Shadow was in cahoots with the Buttigieg and Biden campaigns. For a political party that needs to distinguish itself from the one that is short on integrity, this was a failure all around. The Nevada Democratic Party, which had planned to use the Shadow app for its caucuses, later this month, announced on Monday that it would not be doing so.
According to the Times, the Shadow app was “quickly put together” in the past two months, after a different method for reporting results was scrapped. The idea that an election-reporting system was “quickly put together” is worrisome enough, but that two-month period is even more problematic. It was not enough time for the app to be tested in an actual election or to have been vetted by cybersecurity experts. (Christopher Krebs, the director of the cybersecurity agency at the Department of Homeland Security, told the Times that the app had not been evaluated by his agency.)
The Iowa Democratic Party gave local managers the Shadow app to input results. But results were delayed and backup measures — such as calling a hotline — also failed, according to the New York Times.
The company’s website provides scant information on the people involved, other than to note that they formerly worked with campaigns for President Obama and Hillary Clinton:
Acronym describes itself as a “nonprofit organization committed to building power and digital infrastructure for the progressive movement.” It was founded by Tara McGowan, who served as a digital producer on Obama’s 2012 compaign, according to her LinkedIn profile. According to LinkedIn Niemira also served as CTO of Acronym while also running Groundbase.
On its About page, Acronym says: “In 2018, Acronym and its affiliated political action committee, Pacronym, helped elect 65 progressive candidates across the country with new tech and digital-first strategies to register and turn out voters. In January 2019 we launched Shadow, a tech company focused on enabling organizers to run smarter campaigns. Acronym is also an investor in Courier Newsroom, a digital-first local media company, and Lockwood Strategy, a digital strategy firm.”
But in the wake of the Iowa voting mess, Acronym issued a statement claiming it was merely an investor in Shadow and had little knowledge of it:
pic.twitter.com/dkWBvMvNzW— Kyle Tharp (@kylewilsontharp) February 4, 2020
— Kyle Tharp (@kylewilsontharp) February 4, 2020
On MSNBC, former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, now an Acronym board member, also insisted he knew little about Shadow:
From filings with the Federal Elections Commission, Democratic presidential candidates using Shadow include Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (who dropped out last fall). The Texas Democratic Party is also a customer, as is Super PAC For Our Future, which spent$90 million targeting swing states for Democratic candidates in 2020
Let us hope none of this funny business won’t be used to interfere in our upcoming November elections…
How can she even run for office when she’s getting ready to be indicted! Of course hardly anyone knows that because it’s never published. Sadly Harris county is full of low information, greedy, ‘want something for nothing’ voters