An FBI investigation is underway after the Republican Party of Wisconsin (RPW) reported that $2.3 million was stolen from an account that was to contribute to the re-election of President Donald Trump.
Andrew Hitt, the RPW chairman, told Tekk.tv in a statement that hackers had entered the system “in a sophisticated phishing attack”. “At the end of the campaign to commit this crime, these criminals showed some familiarity with the State Party’s operations”.
The Associated Press first reported on the hack.
According to Hitt, the hackers were able to manipulate bills from four vendors who were paid to send mail and goods to supporters of Trump’s re-election campaign. They altered their bills and documents so that when the GOP paid them, the money went directly to them and not to the vendors.
The money was taken from the RPW federal account, and the party noticed the suspicious activity on October 22, Hitt said in a statement. The next day, party officials contacted the FBI.
The attack was discovered only two weeks before election day, when Trump and Biden made their final pleas for victory in Wisconsin. In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin by a narrow margin, garnering 47.2 percent of the vote, compared to 46.5 percent of Clinton’s vote.
“Obviously the hackers were extremely skilled and knowledgeable,” Hitt told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “They came at the perfect time, at the perfect time to spend resources, to one of the most vital battlefield states.
On Tuesday, Trump spoke to voters in Swing State with predictions of a “huge red wave” and a statement that “in seven days we will win this state and we will have four more incredible years in the White House.
But polls released the next day by both the Washington Post and ABC News revealed that Biden in Wisconsin rose 17 points.
Financial reports released this week show that during the Wisconsin election cycle, the Democratic Party raised $59 million, far more money than the Republican Party raised $23.7 million.
Hitt said that the money stolen from their accounts in the final days before the election was to be used to support Trump’s campaign, but that RPW is still conducting operations in support of the president.
“While a large amount of money has been stolen, our operation is running at full capacity with all resources being deployed to ensure that President Donald J. Trump carries Wisconsin on November 3,” he said in a statement.
By Thursday, over 1.6 million votes had already been cast in the early voting process across the state,” he said in a statement. Both candidates are expected to return to the state on Friday.