The Republican National Committee has chosen a Karl Rove-linked voter data project called Liberty Works to help it compete with Democrats in the digital arena.
Liberty Works will team up with Data Trust, whose chairman of the board is former RNC Chairman Mike Duncan, committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski confirmed to POLITICO.
“Basically, RNC is going to provide the data, and then Liberty Works will build the platform, and Data Trust will manage it all,” Kukowski said. “This is kind of in the beginning stages. There are legal issues that we’re going to iron out.”
Several data entities — one of which had connections to the Koch brothers — had been competing for the partnership, POLITICO previously reported. Roll Call first reported Wednesday on the selection of Liberty Works and Data Trust.
Rove, who had been working with Liberty Works’ founder Dick Boyce, pitched donors in New York last month for the $15 million-plus data project and also talked it up in March to top GOP insiders at an invitation-only conference in Georgia.
Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for Rove’s American Crossroads, previously told POLITICO that Liberty Works was a “stand-alone” effort, and Boyce reportedly distanced himself from Rove in conversations with prospective donors.
Kukowski said that Rove was not directly affiliated with the efforts. “Obviously, Karl Rove has been an interested data user on our side,” she said. “But he is not affiliated with the RNC, Liberty Works or Data Trust in this endeavor.”
Since last November’s losses, Rove has spoken about the need to update the GOP’s data operation. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed in March, Rove said that “Silicon Valley Republicans are working to modernize the GOP’s voter file,” although he didn’t mention Liberty Works by name.
“The information and applications should provide for dynamic microtargeting and at least match the Obama campaign’s ability to connect target voters with volunteers they know or whose interests match their own,” Rove wrote. “It should also be possible to update the master voter file in real time from phone banks, door knocks, online activity and other data streams. The platform will use open architecture, so enterprising GOP developers can build additional applications that candidates and campaigns find useful.”
Boyce, a San Francisco-based private-equity investor, called the project a game-changer.
“Our venture will change the game with a Republican, free enterprise approach to data and technology,” Boyce said in a statement Wednesday. “We are building an open platform to increase access to data for the entire Republican team as well as to bring creativity and technological innovation to our party through new great applications that can be built off the platform.”