A tech firm run by former campaign staffers for Hillary Clinton is responsible for creating the smartphone app that caused a major delay in announcing the results of Monday night’s Democratic caucuses in Iowa, national media are reporting.
The app was developed by Shadow Inc., which in turn is owned by the campaign consulting firm ACRONYM.
According to the Los Angeles Times, CEO Gerard Niemira, Ahna Rao, product manager, and Krista Davis, chief technology officer, all worked in the tech field for Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
The app was supposed to streamline the process for precinct officials to report results to the Iowa Democratic Party.
“We have determined this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system,” IDP Chairman Tony Price said in a statement. “The application’s reporting issue did not impact the ability of precinct chairs to report data accurately.”
Results are expected to be released at 5 p.m. eastern.
The Des Moines Register reported that Price was Clinton’s Iowa field director in 2016 and that the IDP paid Shadow $63,184 for website development and expenses.
The Register also said the Nevada Democratic Party, which holds its caucuses Feb. 22, paid Shadow $50,143 but announced Tuesday it would not use the app. According to campaign finance records, the presidential campaign of former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg paid Shadow $42,250 in 2019.
The Los Angeles Times talked with county Democratic Party chairs in Iowa who said there were issues with the app ahead of Monday night, including opportunities to train on it.
“A lot of people didn’t even load the app because it was such a pain,” John Grennan, co-chair of the Poweshiek County Democratic Party, told the newspaper. “They had all these issues. We were supposed to be getting invitations to use it. The invites would never arrive.”
ACRONYM was created by Tara McGowan, a former Obama for America staffer. She reportedly raised $25 million to create Courier Newsroom, a media company that is favorable to Democrats.
Courier Newsroom has created newspapers in Virginia and Arizona, and plans to do the same in battleground states Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
She told Businessweek that many will see the process as lacking journalistic integrity due to a lack of balance.
“What I say to them is, balance doesn’t exist anymore, unfortunately. We’re losing the information war to verified liars pouring millions of dollars into Facebook.”