Carly Gabrielson, campaign manager DeFazio for Congress released the following story in an email on Thursday, Sept. 6.
EUGENE — Art Robinson's deeper connections to illegal activity were revealed in a photo of political operative W. Samuel Patten and Robinson at his home in Cave Junction, Oregon in 2014.
As part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Patten pled guilty on Friday to working as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukraine and funneling $50,000 of illegal foreign money to Donald Trump’s presidential inaugural committee. Additionally, prosecutors argue that Patten's business partner, a Russian national, has ties to Russian intelligence.
Patten worked for Cambridge Analytica, the corrupt political data company that illegally harvested data from 50 million Facebook users and interfered with elections around the world. The company admitted to, "effectively managing Robinson's (2014) campaign in its entirety" and Robinson was Cambridge Analytica’s first federal political client.
But, in March 2018, The Washington Post, Willamette Week, and Roseburg News-Review interviewed Robinson about his engagement with Cambridge Analytica. Robinson said nothing about Patten’s visit to Oregon. In fact, he tried to distance himself from the disgraced company while defending their work for his campaign. He told the Willamette Week that, “Cambridge Analytica didn’t manage work for us, they did political targeting.” In an interview with the Roseburg News-Review, Robinson said that he didn’t, “feel any qualms about what we did because it was perfectly above-board.”
“Art Robinson has never fully explained the extent of his relationship with Cambridge Analytica or to the company’s primary funder, Robert Mercer. Oregon’s voters deserve to know the extent of Robinson’s relationship to Patten. It’s time for Robinson to come clean about his ties to illegal activity plaguing our representational democracy,” said Carly Gabrielson, DeFazio’s campaign manager.
Cambridge Analytica was partly owned and funded by hedge fund billionaire and right-wing political extremist Robert Mercer. Mercer first began meddling in Oregon elections in 2010 when he funded a super PAC aimed at electing Robinson. DeFazio was the first member of Congress to be attacked by a Wall Street-backed super PAC. Since then, the Mercer family has spent $1.7 million on Robinson’s failed congressional campaigns. Mercer also funds Robinson’s institute, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which Robinson runs from his sheep farm in Cave Junction. Mercer has given Robinson’s institute $1.77 million including a $150,000 donation at the start of 2018.