Read the complaint against John Bolton super PAC, Trump campaign and Steve Bannon

The complaint requests that the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI investigate whether John Bolton’s super PAC, Trump campaign and Steve Bannon conspired with Cambridge Analytica to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act.

March 29, 2018
AnnaLou Tirol
Acting Chief, Public Integrity Section
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Andrew Vale
Assistant Director in Charge
FBI Washington Field Office
601 4th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20535
Re:

Request for Investigation of SCL Elections Ltd., Cambridge Analytica LLC, Alexander
Nix, unknown foreign nationals, Stephen Bannon, John Bolton Super PAC, and Donald J.
Trump for President, Inc.

Dear Acting Chief Tirol and Assistant Director Vale:
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (aCREWa) and Democracy 21 respectfully
request that the U.S. Department of Justice (aDOJa) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (aFBIa)
investigate whether SCL Elections Ltd., Cambridge Analytica LLC, Alexander Nix, Stephen Bannon and
an unknown party or parties criminally violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (aFECAa) by directly
or indirectly participating in the decision-making process of the John Bolton Super PAC and Donald J.
Trump for President, Inc., both federal political committees, in violation of 52 U.S.C. ASS 30121(a)(1) and
11 C.F.R. ASS 110.20(i). We further request that you investigate whether Stephen Bannon, the John Bolton
Super PAC, and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., conspired with or aided and abetted SCL Elections
Ltd., Cambridge Analytica LLC, Alexander Nix, Stephen Bannon, and unknown other parties to violate
52 U.S.C. ASS 30121(a)(1) and 11 C.F.R. ASS 110.20(i).
The law prohibits foreign nationals from participating, directly or indirectly, in elections in the
United States. That prohibition covers not only the making of financial contributions, but also any
foreign nationalas direct or indirect participation in the decision-making process of any person with
respect to its federal or non-federal election-related activities. Nevertheless, SCL Elections Ltd., a
corporation based in the United Kingdom; Alexander Nix, a British national, through his work as
manager at Cambridge Analytica, a company in which Stephen Bannon was a manager and director; and
an unknown number of foreign nationals working with either corporation directly or indirectly
participated in the decision-making process of John Bolton Super PAC, a registered political committee
with the FEC, starting in as early as 2014, and appear to have played a similar role in the presidential
campaign of Donald J. Trump.
Factual Background
SCL Elections Ltd. is a United Kingdom limited company and a minority owner of Cambridge

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Analytica LLC. 1 As a United Kingdom limited company, SCL Elections Ltd. is a foreign national as that
term is defined by the FECA and FEC regulations. 2 Cambridge Analytica LLC (aCAa) is a Delaware
limited liability company partially owned by SCL Elections Ltd. 3 Stephen Bannon co-founded
Cambridge Analytica LLC, served on its board of directors from its founding in 2013 until August of
2016, and served as its vice-president from June 2014 until August of 2016. 4 Alexander Nix is a citizen
of the United Kingdom, a director of SCL Elections Ltd. and a common manager of Cambridge Analytica
LLC. 5 As a citizen of the United Kingdom, Mr. Nix is a foreign national as that term is defined by FECA
and FEC regulations. 6 John Bolton Super PAC is an independent expenditure-only committee (asuper
PACa) established on March 8, 2013 under the name Bolton for America Super PAC. 7 Donald J. Trump
for President, Inc. was the principal campaign committee of President Donald Trump during the 2016
election cycle. 8
On July 7, 2014, the John Bolton Super PAC paid Cambridge Analytica $25,000 for aresearch.a 9
According to Christopher Wylie, a former employee of SCL Elections Ltd., the John Bolton Super PAC
hired Cambridge Analytica LLC and SCL Elections Ltd. in the summer of 2014 ato provide
microtargeting and boost the super PACas advocacy on national security issues, according to a copy of the
signed contract Wylie provided to the Post.a 10 Cambridge Analytica LLC and SCL Elections Ltd.
established three goals for the John Bolton Super PAC and John Bolton personally: to help the John
Bolton Super PAC aelect Republican Senate candidates in Arkansas, North Carolina and New Hampshire;
to raise the issue of national security; and to boost Boltonas profile, according to a memo obtained by the
Post from [a] former Cambridge Analytica employee.a 11 To achieve these goals, Cambridge Analytica
LLC and SCL Elections Ltd. were contracted to work with the staff of the John Bolton Super PAC ato
craft and deploy a communications program in the target states,a according to the contract between
Cambridge Analytica LLC, SCL Elections Ltd. and the John Bolton Super PAC. 12 According to the
memorandum provided to the Post, the John Bolton Super PAC amade use of significant input from SCL
on messaging and target audiences.a 13 aUsing . . . psychographic models, Cambridge helped design
1

Laurence Levy, Mem. Re. Participation in US Elections at 6 (July 22, 2014), available at
http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/TODAY/z_Creative/LEVY_MEMO_DM_4636592_v1_Memo_re__Participation_in_US_Election
s.pdf (hereinafter aLevy Memoa).
2 52 U.S.C. ASS 30121(b)(1); 11 C.F.R. ASS 110.20(a)(3)(i).
3 Levy Memo at 6.
4 Id.; Craig Timberg, Karla Adam and Michael Kranish, Bannon oversaw Cambridge Analyticaas collection of Facebook data,
according to former employee, Washington Post (Mar. 20, 2018), available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bannonoversaw-cambridge-analyticas-collection-of-facebook-data-according-to-former-employee/2018/03/20/8fb369a6-2c55-11e8b0b0-f706877db618_story.html.
5 Id.
6 52 U.S.C. ASS 30121(b)(1); 11 C.F.R. ASS 110.20(a)(3)(i).
7 FEC Form 1, Bolton for America Super PAC (Mar. 8, 2013), available at
http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/194/13031044194/13031044194.pdf.
8 FEC Form 1, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (June 29, 2015), available at http://docquery.fec.gov/cgibin/forms/C00580100/1011720/.
9 John Bolton Super PAC, FEC Form 3X, 2014 Pre-Primary Report, at 33 (Aug. 28, 2014), available at
http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/forms/C00542464/949227/.
10 Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Craig Timberg, and Josh Dawsey, Cambridge Analytica harnessed Facebook data in work for super
PAC led by John Bolton, according to former employees, Washington Post (Mar. 23, 2018), available at
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/cambridge-analytica-harnessed-facebook-data-in-work-for-super-pac-led-by-johnbolton-according-to-former-employees/2018/03/23/d756967a-2ea3-11e8-8ad6-fbc50284fce8_story.html; see also Matthew
Rosenberg, Bolton Was Early Beneficiary of Cambridge Analyticaas Facebook Data, New York Times (Mar. 23, 2018), available
at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/us/politics/bolton-cambridge-analyticas-facebook-data.html.
11 Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Craig Timberg, and Josh Dawsey, Cambridge Analytica harnessed Facebook data in work for super
PAC led by John Bolton, according to former employees, Washington Post (Mar. 23, 2018), available at
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/cambridge-analytica-harnessed-facebook-data-in-work-for-super-pac-led-by-johnbolton-according-to-former-employees/2018/03/23/d756967a-2ea3-11e8-8ad6-fbc50284fce8_story.html
12 Id.
13 Id. (emphasis supplied).

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concepts for advertisements for candidates supported by Mr. Boltonas PAC, including the 2014 campaign
of Thom Tillis, the Republican senator from North Carolina, according to Mr. Wylie and another former
employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being dragged into the investigations that
now appear to be engulfing Cambridge.a 14 Most importantly, aSCL Elections deployed an operative on
the ground to help the super PAC track and modify advertising for targeted groups, documents show.a 15
On July 22, 2014 a two weeks after the John Bolton Super PAC made its initial payment to
Cambridge Analytica LLC a Laurence Levy, a partner in the law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani, sent a
confidential legal memorandum to Stephen Bannon and Alexander Nix, among others, in their capacities
as managers of Cambridge Analytica LLC. The memo advised them on the steps that they would have to
take to comply with the prohibition on foreign national participation in United States elections while
providing services to the John Bolton Super PAC and other federal political committees. 16 Mr. Levy
explained the broad scope of the prohibition on foreign national participation in decisions involving
election-related activities by federal political committees established by 52 U.S.C. ASS 30121 and 11 C.F.R.
ASS 110.20(i). 17 In light of this prohibition, Mr. Levy advised the managers that abecause Cambridge is
currently being managed day to day by Mr. Nix, in order for Cambridge to engage in such activities Mr.
Nix would first have to be recused from substantive management of any such clients involved in U.S.
elections, and could only participate in ministerial functions, which would include overseeing billings,
resource allocation within the company, etc.a 18 Mr. Levy then advised the managers that a[f]oreign
[n]ationals may work in a U.S. political campaign, but may not play strategic roles including the giving of
strategic advice to candidates, political parties, or independent expenditure committees.a 19 a[F]oreign
nationals may act as functionaries that collect and process data,a he added, abut the final analysis of said
data should be conducted by U.S. citizens and conveyed to any U.S. client by such citizens. If the foreign
nationals were to conduct the analysis it could support a claim of indirectly participating in the decision
to spend federal campaign funds.a 20 aTo the extent you are aware of foreign nationals providing
services, including polling and marketing, it would appear that unless it is being done through U.S.
citizens, or foreign nationals with green cards, the activity would violate the law.a 21 With regard to
embedding foreign nationals in U.S. political committees, Mr. Levy advised the managers that the
ahistory of prohibiting foreign nationalas involvement in U.S. campaigns . . . clearly distinguishes
between citizens, and those with a green card, versus all others, broadly classified as foreign nationals.
Therefore, the possession of an H1 visa or student visa is of no moment for this analysis.a 22
SCL Elections Ltd., Cambridge Analytica LLC, Stephen Bannon, and Alexander Nix ignored the
legal advice provided by Bracewell & Giuliani while participating in election-related activities for the
John Bolton Super PAC. aEmployees working for Cambridge Analytica in the US at the time claimed
that rather than tackling the problem, management appeared to ignore it.a 23 aa[A] lawyer [for one of
14

Matthew Rosenberg, Bolton Was Early Beneficiary of Cambridge Analyticaas Facebook Data, New York Times (Mar. 23,
2018), available at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/us/politics/bolton-cambridge-analyticas-facebook-data.html.
15 Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Craig Timberg, and Josh Dawsey, Cambridge Analytica harnessed Facebook data in work for super
PAC led by John Bolton, according to former employees, Washington Post (Mar. 23, 2018), available at
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/cambridge-analytica-harnessed-facebook-data-in-work-for-super-pac-led-by-johnbolton-according-to-former-employees/2018/03/23/d756967a-2ea3-11e8-8ad6-fbc50284fce8_story.html
16 Levy Memo, supra note 1.
17 Id.
18 Id. at 6.
19 Id. at 7.
20 Id. (emphasis supplied).
21 Id. (emphasis supplied).
22 Id. at 8.
23 Carole Cadwalladr and Emma Graham-Harrison, Staff claim Cambridge Analytica ignored US ban on foreigners working on
elections, The Guardian (Mar. 17, 2018), available at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/17/cambridge-analyticanon-american-employees-political.

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Cambridge Analyticaas directors, Rebekah Mercer,] told a fairly stunned group meeting that it wasnat
allowed,a said one non-American employee who was based in the US at the time. aIam not sure what, if
anything, CA did to act on that knowledge.aa 24 aTwo employees confirmed that they were still answering
ultimately to Nix throughout the mid-term election campaigns that ended in November 2014. In total,
more than a dozen foreigners, including Britons and Canadians, filled strategic roles in campaigns across
the US.a 25 The Guardian also reported that: aIt is understood that some were working on tourist visas.
Another ex-employee claimed that they had been provided with letters to give to US border control
officials where needed, stating that they would not be working there.a 26 aThere were no briefings on the
kind of work that non-US citizens should avoid, or warnings about the legal risks. aCA was sloppy and
didnat care about its staff,a said the first employee.a 27 Separately, a former employee told The New
Yorker aaI make no distinction between S.C.L. and Cambridge Analytica, because nor does the company,a
the employee said. aPeople sit together. You have both e-mails, depending which country you are
writing to.aa 28 Another former employee noted that a[t]he ranks of company campaign workers included a
asmall handful of U.S. citizensa but dozens of foreign workers.a 29 One former employee explained: aaWe
knew that everything was not above board, but we werenat too concerned about it,a said one of the former
Cambridge Analytica workers, who spent several months in the United States working on Republican
campaigns. aIt was the Wild West. Thatas certainly how they carried on in 2014.aa 30
Foreign nationals, including Christopher Wylie, were involved in providing strategic advice to the
John Bolton Super PAC regarding the independent expenditures the super PAC made to support the
election of several federal candidates, including Thom Tillis in North Carolina. aChris Wylie, a 28-yearold Canadian who ran messaging for Cambridge out of its London office in 2014, said he worked on all
the companyas U.S. political campaigns in 2014, aand stopped at most of them, like Thom Tillisas
campaign.a Tillis ran for and won a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina in 2014.a 31 aWylie said that
many foreign nationals worked on the campaigns, and many were embedded in the campaigns around the
U.S. aIt was not just me,a he said. aLike 20 other people were. We had Canadians, British, Eastern
Europeans, Lithuanians, Germans, Romanians, Greeks.aa 32 Most importantly, Wylie said that foreign
nationals were participating in the decisions that U.S. political committees, including the John Bolton
Super PAC, made with regard to how the political committees made campaign expenditures. aaWe
werenat just working on messaging. We were instructing campaigns on which messages go where and to
who.aa 33 Separately, Wylie said athat he was part of multiple conference calls in 2014 with Bannon and

24

Id.; see also Matthew Rosenberg, Nicholas Confessore, and Carole Cadwalladr, How Trump Consultants Exploited the
Facebook Data of Millions, New York Times (Mar. 17, 2018), available at
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/17/us/politics/cambridge-analytica-trump-campaign.html (aIn summer and fall 2014,
Cambridge Analytica dived into the American midterm elections, mobilizing SCL contractors and employees around the country.
Few Americans were involved in the work, which included polling, focus groups and message development for the John Bolton
Super PAC, conservative groups in Colorado and the campaign of Senator Thom Tillis, the North Carolina Republican.a).
25 Id.
26 Id.
27 Id.
28 Sam Knight, Life Inside S.C.L., Cambridge Analyticaas Parent Company, The New Yorker (Mar. 26, 2018), available at
https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-the-uk/life-inside-scl-cambridge-analyticas-parent-company.
29 Craig Timberg and Tom Hamburger, Former Cambridge Analytica workers say firm sent foreigners to advise U.S. campaigns,
Washington Post (Mar. 25, 2018), available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/former-cambridge-analytica-workerssay-firm-sent-foreigners-to-advise-us-campaigns/2018/03/25/6a0d7d90-2fa2-11e8-911f-ca7f68bff0fc_story.html.
30 Id.
31 Anna R. Schecter, Wylie: Foreigners worked for Cambridge Analytica on NC Senate Campaign, NBC News (Mar. 23, 2018),
available at https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/wylie-foreigners-worked-cambridge-analytica-nc-senate-campaignn859526 (emphasis supplied).
32 Id.
33 Id. (emphasis supplied).

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Nix, a Briton, in which strategic campaign matters were discussed.a 34 aWylie said that Bannon a| was
deeply involved in [CAas] strategy and approved spending nearly $1 million to acquire data, including
Facebook profiles, in 2014. aWe had to get Bannon to approve everything at this point. Bannon was
Alexander Nixas boss,a said Wylie.a 35
On August 17, 2016, Bannon was appointed chief executive of then-candidate Trumpas official
campaign organization, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. 36 The campaignas spending records indicate
that it paid Cambridge Analytica nearly $6 million during 2016 for adata managementa or adata
management servicesa; all but $100,000 of that was disbursed after Bannon joined the campaign,
including a single $5,000,000 disbursement on September 1, two weeks after he was hired. 37 This
disbursement apparently represented a apurchase of television adsa that aaired on cable channels in
Washington, D.C.a that Cambridge Analytica atargeted.a 38 Nix also asaid the firm had conducted tens of
thousands of polls for Mr. Trump, helping guide his message and identify issues that mattered to
voters.a 39 Campaign staff said that Cambridge Analytica aprovid[ed] personnel who worked alongside
other analytics vendors on some early digital advertisinga and ahelped set up Mr. Trumpas polling
operation and build turnout models used to guide the candidateas spending and travel schedule.a 40
Speaking to an undercover reporter, Nix described the companyas work for the Trump campaign in broad
terms: aWe did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital
campaign, the television campaign, and our data informed all the strategy.a 41
Violations
The FECA prohibits foreign nationals from making contributions or expenditures in connection
with a Federal, State or local election.42 FEC regulations and advisory opinions interpret this prohibition
broadly as prohibiting a foreign national from adirectly or indirectly participat[ing] in the decisionmaking process of any . . . political committee . . . with regard to that [committeeas] Federal or nonFederal election-related activities, such as decisions concerning the making of contributions, donations,
expenditures, or disbursements in connection with elections for any Federal, State, or local office or
decisions concerning the administration of a political committee.a 43 Moreover, this FEC regulation
prohibits foreign nationals from merely ataking part in decisions about contributions and donations to any

34

Craig Timberg and Tom Hamburger, Former Cambridge Analytica workers say firm sent foreigners to advise U.S. campaigns,
Washington Post (Mar. 25, 2018), available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/former-cambridge-analytica-workerssay-firm-sent-foreigners-to-advise-us-campaigns/2018/03/25/6a0d7d90-2fa2-11e8-911f-ca7f68bff0fc_story.html (emphasis
supplied).
35 Craig Timberg, Karla Adam and Michael Kranish, Bannon oversaw Cambridge Analyticaas collection of Facebook data,
according to former employee, Washington Post (Mar. 20, 2018), available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bannonoversaw-cambridge-analyticas-collection-of-facebook-data-according-to-former-employee/2018/03/20/8fb369a6-2c55-11e8b0b0-f706877db618_story.html.
36 Jonathan Martin, Jim Rutenberg and Maggie Haberman, Donald Trump Appoints Media Firebrand to Run Campaign, New
York Times (Aug. 17, 2018), available at https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/us/politics/donald-trump-stephen-bannon-paulmanafort.html.
37 Federal Election Commission, Disbursements of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., available at
https://www.fec.gov/data/disbursements/?two_year_transaction_period=2016&data_type=processed&committee_id=C00580100
&recipient_name=cambridge+analytica&min_date=01%2F01%2F2015&max_date=12%2F31%2F2016
38 Nicholas Confessore and Danny Hakim, Data Firm Says aSecret Saucea Aided Trump; Many Scoff, New York Times (Mar. 6,
2017), available at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/06/us/politics/cambridge-analytica.html.
39 Id.
40 Id.
41 Georgina Lee, Q&A on Cambridge Analytica. The allegations so far, explained, Channel 4, available at
https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/cambridge-analytica-the-allegations-so-far; see also
https://www.channel4.com/news/data-democracy-and-dirty-tricks-cambridge-analytica-uncovered-investigation-expose.
42 52 U.S.C. ASS 30121(a)(1).
43 11 C.F.R. ASS 110.20(i); see also Advisory Opinion 2004-26 (Weller).

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Federal, State, or local candidates or to, or by, any political committees or organizations, and in decisions
about expenditures and disbursements made in support of, or in opposition to, such candidates, political
committees or political organizations.a 44 The FECA provides that a violation of the statute is criminal if
a[a]ny person . . . knowingly and willfully commits a violation of any provision of this Act which
involves the making, receiving, or reporting of any contribution, donation, or expenditure.a 45 Finally, it is
unlawful to aid and abet another in the commission of a crime and to conspire with another to commit a
federal offenses or to defraud a United States agency, including the Federal Election Commission. 46
Conclusion
CREW and Democracy 21 respectfully request DOJ and the FBI immediately commence an
investigation into this matter and take appropriate action.
Sincerely,

/s/ Noah Bookbinder
Noah Bookbinder
Executive Director
Citizens for Responsibility and
Ethics in Washington

/s/ Fred Wertheimer
Fred Wertheimer
President
Democracy 21

44 Explanation and Justification for Regulations on Contribution Limitations and Prohibitions, 67 Fed. Reg. 69928, 66946 (Nov.
19, 2002).
45 52 U.S.C. ASS 30109(d)(1).
46 18 U.S.C. ASS 2; 18 U.S.C. ASS 371.

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