WASHINGTON — Early in his presidential campaign, Donald Trump dismissed political data as an “overrated” tool. But after he won the Republican nomination, his team began building a database that offers a pipeline into the heart of the party’s base, a comprehensive list including the email addresses and cellphone numbers of up to 20 million supporters. Consultants close to the Trump campaign are ramping up efforts to put that database — by far the most sought-after in Republican politics — to use, offering it for rent to candidates, conservative groups and businesses. It is an arrangement that has the potential to help the Republican Party in key midterm races, while providing a source of revenue for Trump’s campaign and the consultants involved. It has set off concerns about diluting the power of one of Trump’s most potent political assets, while raising questions about whether his team is facilitating the sort of political profiteering he disparaged during his campaign. It is not unusual for candidates to rent supporter data to — or from — other campaigns. The new effort by Trump’s team, however, appears to be the first time the campaign of a sitting president facing re-election has opted to market… Read full this story
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