Former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon led Cambridge Analytica’s efforts to collect Facebook data on millions of Americans, a former company employee told the Washington Post.
According to whistleblower Chris Wylie, Bannon—who helped launch the controversial data collection firm—was “deeply involved in the company’s strategy and approved spending nearly $1 million to acquire data, including Facebook profiles, in 2014,” the Post reports.
Wylie told the Post Bannon and billionaire donor Rebekah Mercer both participated in circa-2014 conference calls during which the company’s plans to collect troves of data on Facebook users were discussed.
Bannon “approved the data-collection scheme we were proposing,” Wylie told the Post. The former Breitbart executive chairman would later receive “more than $125,000 in consulting fees from Cambridge Analytica” and an ownership stake in the company worth “between $1 million and $5 million,” the Post repots.
As Wylie previously told CNN, Cambridge Analytica began testing slogans like “drain the swamp” and “deep state” in 2014, as a part of a voter persuasion effort championed by Bannon. Bannon would go on to become a top adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign—which built its message around many of the same messages Cambridge Analytica helped define.