Chaos erupted on Tuesday after Democrats only released 62% of the caucus results from Monday night’s Iowa caucuses, which showed that Pete Buttigieg won the most delegates despite not getting as many votes as Bernie Sanders.
The New York Times reported that the partial results showed the following with respect to the state’s delegate equivalents:
- Buttigieg: 26.9%
- Sanders 25.1%
- Warren: 18.3%
- Biden: 15.6%
- Klobuchar: 12.6%
- Yang: 1.1%
- Steyer: 0.3%
CBS News reported the popular vote:
- Sanders: 28,220
- Buttigieg: 27,030
- Warren: 22,254
- Biden: 14,176
- Klobuchar: 13,357
Chaos initially erupted on Monday night when the Iowa Democratic Party said in a statement that it “found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results.”
Immediately following the announcement that the results were not going to be announced on Monday night, Buttigieg rushed to declare himself the winner of the contest.
“What a night. Because tonight, an improbable hope became an undeniable reality,” Buttigieg told his supporters, according to CNN. “So we don’t know all the results, but we know by the time, it’s all said and done, Iowa you have shocked the nation. Because by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.”
Shortly after Buttigieg’s speech, speculation began to swirl around the app that was used that reportedly had the problem and the company that developed the app.
The Washington Examiner reported:
Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s campaign contributed money to the technological firm whose voting app contributed to reporting delays in the Iowa caucuses.
Federal Election Commission filings reveal that Buttigieg’s campaign gave tens of thousands of dollars to Shadow on July 23, 2019, for “software rights and subscriptions.”
Shadow, a technology company that has an investor in the Democratic digital nonprofit organization ACRONYM, was also paid $60,000 over two installments by the Iowa Democratic Party to build an app to help make caucus voting easier and faster for precinct volunteers. Filings also reveal that the Nevada Democratic Party paid Shadow $58,000 for “website development.”
Online, the revelation that Buttigieg had paid money to the company that developed the app stirred suspicions among some reporters, political commentators, and Bernie supporters.
“Three different sources say a firm called ‘Shadow’ developed the Iowa Dem caucus app. They haven’t responded to comment, neither has Iowa Dem Party. The firm was paid by both Nevada & Iowa Democratic Party, disclosures show. Also by Mayor Pete’s campaign,” Intercept reporter Lee Fang tweeted. “Nevada Dem federal account paid Shadow $58k in August, Iowa Dems state account paid Shadow $63,183 in two payments over Nov & Dec, suggesting app wasn’t developed until just months ago? Both caucus states. Shadow is a spin-off from PACRONYM, a new Dem dark money/superPAC hybrid.”
Nevada Dem federal account paid Shadow $58k in August, Iowa Dems state account paid Shadow $63,183 in two payments over Nov & Dec, suggesting app wasn't developed until just months ago? Both caucus states. Shadow is a spin-off from PACRONYM, a new Dem dark money/superPAC hybrid.
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) February 4, 2020
In a separate tweet, which linked to a report that he wrote, Fang added: “Dem group behind Shadow distanced itself from the Iowa caucus developer. But they share office space, briefings & resources. The team is made up of former Hillary campaign staff tied to Mayor Pete and have privately expressed hostility to Bernie.”
In his report, Fang wrote:
Democratic operative Tara McGowan is denying that her high-profile liberal firm ACRONYM played a role in the Monday evening caucus debacle, claiming that her firm was merely an investor in the company Shadow Inc., which developed the app at the center of the controversy. But internal company documents, a source close to the firms, and public records show a close and intertwined relationship between Acronym and Shadow.
A person with knowledge of the company’s culture, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, shared communications showing that top officials at the company regularly expressed hostility to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s supporters. McGowan is married to Michael Halle, a senior strategist with the Buttigieg campaign. There is no evidence any preference of candidates had any effect on the coding issue that is stalling the Iowa results.
Federal campaign finance records show that the Iowa Democratic Party and the Nevada Democratic Party retained Shadow to develop its caucus app. Shadow has also been retained for digital services by Buttigieg’s campaign, which paid the company $42,500 for software-related services last July, and by Joe Biden’s campaign, which paid Shadow $1,225 for text messaging services, last July as well.
Shadow was launched by former staffers to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, including Niemira, Krista Davis, Ahna Rao, and James Hickey, according to professional biographies listed on LinkedIn. Shadow did not respond to a request for comment.
Acronym, which includes a hybrid model of a 501(c)4 entity that does not disclose donors and a Super PAC that does, has been a favorite for deep-pocketed Democratic donors.
The fact that nothing nefarious had been reported did not stop speculation and conspiracies from exploding online.
One political commentator wrote: “Not great optics here, folks: – Dems paid company literally called Shadow to create caucus app – Buttigieg campaign also paid Shadow, FEC records show – Caucus app fails – Buttigieg declares himself Iowa winner with no results”
Not great optics here, folks:
– Dems paid company literally called Shadow to create caucus app
– Buttigieg campaign also paid Shadow, FEC records show
– Caucus app fails
– Buttigieg declares himself Iowa winner with no results
— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) February 4, 2020
Other accounts on Twitter used the hashtags “Pete The Cheat” and “Mayor Cheat” in attacking Buttigieg:
— Pat the Berner🌹 (@PatTheBerner) February 4, 2020
So @PeteButtigieg has an advisor that is married to the woman in charge of this Shadow debacle?
AND in July 2019 Petey paid that company 21k twice for rights on that very app that malfunctioned in Iowa? #MayorCheat
— Julie Smith 🌹 (@JulieSmithM) February 4, 2020
Lets make #MayorCheat stick for the rest of this motherfucker's political career
— Shuja Haider (@shujaxhaider) February 4, 2020
— James Ellars 🧢 (@Ellars) February 4, 2020
— Thia is #BernieOrBust 🩰😏✌️🔥 (@ThiaBallerina) February 4, 2020
Buttigieg getting ratio'd on every tweet he has put out since he proclaimed victory with 0% of precincts reporting. Not to mention #MayorCheat & #PeteTheCheat trending throughout the night pic.twitter.com/boFs9lFqVe
— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) February 4, 2020
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