Saudi Arabia Now Owns Stakes In Companies That Possess the Democratic National Committee’s Voter List


According to a new report from The Intercept, the Saudi government is now an investor for several private firms which happen to be in possession of not only all the software that runs the Democratic Party, but also the entirety of the voter list for the Democratic National Committee.

The company which is owned by the Saudi Arabian government, Sanabil Investments, is responsible for Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. This news broke after Sanabil released a list of investments in venture capital, buyout firms, as well as start ups. What stuck out though was two firms specifically that were invested into several years ago.

EveryAction and NGP VAN were two American companies that Sanabil bought into. These two just so happen to make up the backbone of the DNC’s campaign operations online.

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A Monopoly?

According to Paul Rose, an associate dean for Ohio State University’s law school who spoke with The Intercept, this direct investment is very much intentional and not a coincidence.

“Saudi Arabia’s investments are definitely strategic,” said Rose, who is an expert on sovereign funds within the Middle East. “This disclosure is interesting because I look at it and I think, ‘Well, why would you disclose this?’ The Saudis are really quite shrewd about signaling to not only people in their own country but people abroad what their priorities are.”

Rose also added that this “investment for them is in part a brand-building exercise.”

Sanabil operates the Public Investment Fund, which is the official name used for the Saudi’s government wealth fund which is used in part to purchase ownership of foreign companies in order to extend the Kingdom’s influence. It currently holds the status as the world’s largest fund consisting of upwards of $620 billion in assets.

Throughout the last few years, they have invested into other companies such as Apax Partners, another company which hosted many of the Democratic Party’s campaign technology.

A spokesperson for Apax stated at the time that “Limited partners in Apax funds are passive investors with no role in the management of portfolio companies. While they are entitled to receive information relating to the performance of their investments at fund level, they do not have access to sensitive portfolio company information.”

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The Kingdom’s Tentacles

There are federal laws in place to prevent sovereign wealth funds from injecting themselves into our domestic politics, but there is a catch here.

The federal government can only take action into a situation where a fund is influencing political decisions or the democratic process if it is deemed as a risk to national security. From there, federal regulators can get involved via the Committee on Foreign Investment, which is under the purview of the Department of the Treasury.

Rose states that this specific fund could be seen as a potential risk since the companies within the portfolio have now direct deals related to voters and sensitive political information, even if the investor has no ‘real’ influence in day to day activities.

Rose thinks this is one reason why Sanabil released the list of their investments, so that why could appear as if they weren’t trying to hide anything, therefore appearing more transparent. One point The Intercept also points out that just because Sanabil invests in something, doesn’t mean the Saudi government has the same exact interests as the company, but take that for what its worth.

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