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Kari Lake’s Bribery Scandal Involves a Shady GOP Tech Firm

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

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Arizona Senate hopeful and inveterate election denier Kari Lake pulled off a coup of her own last month, dethroning the chair of the state’s Republican Party after disclosing a recording of what Lake described as a bribe offer last year to keep her out of the race to claim the seat currently held by independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

At the time the recording was made, Lake still had a financial connection to that ousted GOP chair, Jeff DeWit—via a campaign tech startup closely tied to a top MAGA-world nonprofit, a company whose most notable characteristic is a glaring absence of a political paper trail.

In fact, that startup—called “Superfeed Technologies, Inc.”—had its authority to do business revoked by the state of Arizona while it employed both DeWit, its former CEO, and Lake, who reported receiving more than $100,000 from the entity in the personal financial disclosure she filed last month.

The revocation overlapped not just with Lake’s employment, but with her failed gubernatorial campaign’s simultaneous use of Superfeed’s app during the 2022 midterm election. But despite the candidate’s ongoing business relationship with Superfeed, the Lake campaign never disclosed payments to the company until after The Daily Beast inquired about the missing expenses, eventually paying out shortly after she lost the election and just weeks before the company’s license was reinstated, filings show.

The dearth of information about the privately held company stands at odds with its connections to very public figures and groups, many of which are required to disclose their politically related spending. The secrecy raises a number of questions, like who exactly is profiting from Superfeed, who is running the company, and to what extent has it insinuated itself in Republican politics—a world where personal data can command major cash and clout. Superfeed and its current leadership did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The Daily Beast

Superfeed offers a mobile app platform marketed towards conservative groups, helping them organize political outreach and collate digital news. Currently, 18 entities use the app, according to listings on the Apple Store and Google Play, including four Republican state parties, an Arizona GOP state House campaign, multiple conservative news sites, and right-wing activists like Scott Presler, Moms for America, and MAGA pillow king Mike Lindell. Yet records of any payment to Superfeed for the creation of these products are scarce, even in cases where state or federal laws require disclosure for political expenses or donated professional services.

Perhaps most notably, Superfeed also powers the app for Arizona-based MAGA youth group Turning Point USA, and for its political arm Turning Point Action. Both organizations have significant direct ties to the Superfeed corporate board, including Superfeed’s chair, who holds a concurrent senior leadership role at Turning Point.

Those ties appeared in the filings Superfeed submitted this month to reinstate its business license in Arizona. They came in just days before NBC News reported that the app was central to suspicions currently ricocheting among state and national party members about the “grift” at the heart of Turning Point leader Charlie Kirk’s power play inside the Republican National Committee.

“This is why [Kirk] was trying to get rid of Ronna,” one Trump ally told NBC, referring to longtime RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, who was ousted this month. “He shouldn’t make it sound like, ‘Oh, we’re tired of losing. We don’t have an early vote program.’ He should have just said, ‘Listen, he who controls the RNC controls millions of dollars and I want to get my hands on them.’ I mean, that would have been a more honest grift.”

Kari Lake-Linked Tech Firm Wreaking Campaign Finance Havoc

The report said that McDaniel has expressed concerns that Kirk is siphoning conservative donors whose money could otherwise go towards strengthening the party during a critical election cycle. Party insiders tied those concerns to Superfeed, NBC News reported, with Turning Point officials pitching the app to state and county party leaders in a bid to manage their voter outreach—and acquire the lucrative personal data from those efforts.

A spokesperson for Turning Point revealed to The Daily Beast that it receives a discount on Superfeed’s development services in exchange for the group’s chief operating officer serving on the company’s board of directors in an “unpaid, volunteer capacity.” The representative added that upcoming tax forms would disclose disbursements to Superfeed for its work.

“Superfeed is nothing more than a vendor of Turning Point Action, which is helping to develop an effective GOTV mobile application in the organization’s ballot chasing initiative,” wrote spokesman Andrew Kolvet, who then referred to Turning Point USA by an abbreviation. “TPUSA pays Superfeed for app development. We have launched a beta version of the app (available on the App Store) with a more robust version also in development that is scheduled to be released later this year that will have additional design features, video feeds, content distribution etc.”

Depending on their privacy settings, apps can collect a raft of valuable information about their users, including names, addresses, contact information, and details about their mobile usage habits and content preferences. This data is precious to campaigns and other political operations that seek to target and cultivate new donors. But Kolvet maintained that Superfeed had never sold data to either Turning Point organizations.

Lake’s financial disclosure states that she left Superfeed in March last year—not long after a recorded conversation with its CEO, DeWit, in which Lake alleges he tried to stymie a 2024 Senate run by offering her payday from unspecified patrons “back East.”

“There are very powerful people that want to keep you out. But they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is in a big way,” DeWit told Lake in the recording, which Lake released last month and which DeWit has called “selectively edited.”

“Is there a number at which—” DeWit asked, with Lake cutting him off: “I can be bought?”

That recording prompted DeWit’s resignation as Arizona state GOP party chair. While it’s not clear from the tape just whom “back East” DeWit was referencing, his resignation letter implied that the substance of that conversation was directly related to his and Lake’s work at Superfeed.

“This act of recording was not just a betrayal of trust but also a violation of the fiduciary responsibilities of an employee,” DeWit wrote.

But the timeline complicates that statement.

In a meeting with state party members just ahead of his resignation last month, DeWit claimed to have stepped down as Superfeed CEO in January 2023. If that’s true, DeWit’s departure would predate his conversation with Lake by several weeks—though it’s also possible he maintained a managerial, non-official role with the company. And while Lake’s financial disclosure claims that she left the company in March—shortly after recording their conversation—Lake waited another 10 months to go public about it.

DeWit did not respond to multiple comment requests.

While DeWit is no longer CEO of Superfeed, he claimed in the meeting last month that he still has equity in the company. But there are other signs that DeWit still controls the strings. When DeWit stepped down in 2023, Arizona business filings show, Superfeed brought on a new secretary-treasurer—Andrew Reeb, a former business partner at DeWit’s troubled investment firm, EchoTrade.

DeWit dissolved EchoTrade in 2013, after the firm paid out multiple settlements to securities regulators, totaling more than $130,000—including a $100,000 Securities and Exchange Commission fine for an array of trading violations, financial filings show. While the fines dogged DeWit’s 2014 run for state treasurer, he pulled off a win, going on to become Donald Trump’s pick for chief financial officer at NASA.

NASA Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWit in 2019

NASA Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWit in 2019.

Drew Angerer

In celestial terms, however, Superfeed would be a black hole. Outside of state business records, which offer little insight into the company beyond the composition of its board, there is hardly any publicly available information about its activities. And for a company that DeWit touted mightily just last month, no one involved seems eager to open up about its success.

Superfeed’s website is currently empty, with the only text reading, “Coming Soon.” Prior versions of the site saved by the nonprofit Internet Archive suggest the business model pivoted to politics only recently, with former iterations showing a sole focus on personalized news curation—albeit with familiar conservative undertones.

In 2020, the year DeWit took the reins as CEO, the website’s origin story declared that “Superfeed was created when certain social medias switched their algorithms, making it hard for people to find the news and information they were looking for,” creating a “gap in the market” for users and content generators alike.

That would also appear tailor-made for the needs of Superfeed’s founding family—conservative activist Floyd Brown, whose son Patrick, served as Superfeed’s first president. (Kathryn Brown was secretary.)

The Browns were for a time heroes of conservative alt-media. Their fringe-right outlet Western Journal exerted a profound influence in alternative conservative media as Trump ascended to power—until both Google and Apple blacklisted it for misinformation in 2019, decimating its readership. Now, Western Journal has a Superfeed-powered app on both online stores.

When The Daily Beast contacted Floyd Brown for its first piece on Superfeed in 2022, the veteran GOP operative said he had turned the venture over to DeWit.

As recently as summer 2022, the site advertised “an unbiased, personalized outlet for real news curating all of your favorite sources in one place.” But Superfeed appears to have embraced a new market—political groups.

The clearest picture of Superfeed’s business today is found on Apple and Google app stores. Those listings show at least 18 entities currently use Superfeed-powered apps, including Republican party organizations in four critical battlegrounds—Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin—as well as in blue-tinged Colorado, which still has powerful Republican strongholds. Meanwhile, both Google and Apple offer a “Team Michigan” app by Superfeed to push content from Turning Point and other conservative sources in that key state. The precise nature of Team Michigan’s affiliation with any official political organization—in a state where the GOP power structure has split into two competing factions—is still unclear.

A few conservative media outlets also promote apps built on Superfeed, including Western Journal and Conservative News America. The vast majority of clients, however, are political organizations, who use the app like a day planner to manage staff, scheduling, contacts, and the like. Those clients include Arizona state House candidate Austin Smith, Lindell, Moms for America, and MAGA influencer Scott Presler.

In an Instagram post last October, Presler boasted that his Superfeed app was doing numbers.

“My app, Early Vote Action, is making waves,” Presler wrote in the caption, alongside a screenshot that showed the app ranked ahead of the New York Post and USA Today. He claimed that the app had “10,000 active users,” and can be used “to make phone calls, send text messages, and knock doors.” Early Vote Action’s federal PAC doesn’t report any payments to Superfeed in its FEC filings.

Early Vote Action did not respond to repeated queries for this piece. Pillow mogul Lindell, however, told The Daily Beast that he “got the app through TPUSA," specifically through its COO Tyler Bowyer.

Lindell said that two of his organizations, Cause of America and Election Crime Bureau, use the app. The top function, he explained, was for “citizen reporting,” whereby private individuals use their mobile devices to report names and locations they suspect are involved in voting fraud—like turning in a next-door neighbor, Lindell gave by way of an example. That info goes through the app, and the Election Crime Bureau endeavors to verify it and pass it along to authorities.

However, the cushion tycoon said he was unfamiliar with the payment structure worked out with Superfeed and couldn’t speak to it.

Outside the app stores, however, the trail gets colder.

Superfeed’s revenue figures are publicly unavailable, and public records like campaign finance reports and tax filings yield almost no trace of the company. The company has submitted one lone filing with the SEC, which shows that the startup authorized the sale of up to $25 million shares in January 2021. While the filing—submitted under what’s called a 506(b) exemption—indicates that the company authorized sales to as many as 35 non-accredited investors, the report itself was only required to list the first sale.

That sale, however, turned out to be a $250,000 investment from Michael Gibbons—the banker who later ran a self-funded campaign in Ohio’s vicious 2022 GOP Senate primary, where he nearly came to blows with another candidate during a debate. Gibbons’ candidate financial disclosure listed shares in Superfeed valued between $250,000 and $500,000.

It’s also impossible to gauge Superfeed’s size through known transactions. That’s because there are hardly any records of political groups paying Superfeed, even though it has powered apps for a number of political entities and campaigns in recent years.

For instance, Turning Point Action has used the app since at least 2022—when Superfeed’s Arizona business license was revoked—but has never reported any payments to the company on its Federal Election Commission filings. The group’s tax returns to date don’t show any Superfeed expenses, either, though their 2022 return lists payouts of $107,000 and above to three other communications consultants. According to an Associated Press report last October, Turning Point uses the app to manage voter outreach efforts—a project that boasts a $108 million budget.

Founder and executive director of Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk

Founder and executive director of Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk.

Joe Raedle

While Lake’s own losing gubernatorial campaign also deployed the app in 2022, it didn’t report any payments to Superfeed until after The Daily Beast revealed she was using the app. Arizona campaign finance filings show two $3,000 payments from the Lake campaign after the election—the only recorded Superfeed payments from any political committee in the state. Lake’s financial disclosure last month indicates that she was collecting a sizable income from the company at the time.

Two Arizona Republicans at the federal level also used the app in 2022. One campaign, for failed House contender Kelly Cooper, previously told The Daily Beast that they were hazy about the extent of their use of Superfeed, later reporting a $250 payment the day before the general election, FEC records show. The second campaign, for GOP Senate primary candidate Jim Lamon, did not file any Superfeed outlays. Lamon, it turns out, was also on Superfeed’s board as of 2021, according to the SEC filing.

In fact, federal campaign disclosures show Superfeed payments from only two committees—Cooper (who is running again in 2024) along with the “Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund” super PAC. But those filings indicate that the app commands a relatively high price point on the market. Tea Party Patriots has reported $110,000 starting last April, at an apparent monthly billing rate of $10,000. Lake, who served as Superfeed’s communications director, only reported paying $6,000.

Similarly, there are no records of payments to Superfeed in Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, or Georgia for the Republican apps in those states. The party organizations for whom the apps were built did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast. Arizona state filings only return Lake’s campaign payments, with no outlays from the state Republican Party, which also has a Superfeed-powered app.

This raises questions about how and where Superfeed derives revenue besides through Turning Point. Because it turns out that while Lake’s campaign was paying Superfeed, Superfeed was also paying her—and paying her a lot.

Lake reported receiving a total of $101,507 from Superfeed between Jan. 1, 2022, and March 2023, according to the personal financial disclosure she filed earlier this year. In a prior disclosure with the state of Arizona, she specified her role as “communications director,” identifying the company by its alter ego, “FeedMe.”

While Superfeed is currently without a president or CEO, its revolving board of directors bears a number of political ties, chiefly to Turning Point USA.

The Browns have disappeared from Superfeed’s business filings, replaced by new blood from the TPUSA universe. Tyler Bowyer, the COO at Turning Point Action, joined Superfeed as chairman of the board in the company’s 2022 annual report. Turning Point leader Charlie Kirk’s mother-in-law also currently holds a director’s position with the company, business records show. So does TPUSA advisory board member and oil and gas exec Wayne Newkumet, alongside his son Travis, who has followed his father into the energy sector. Lindell also holds an honorary position on the TPUSA board.

Kolvet, the Turning Point spokesman, told The Daily Beast that no “board members and officers of either TPUSA and TPAction’ hold any financial interest or receive any compensation from Superfeed, including Kirk.

Superfeed’s current corporate board also includes the Arizona national committee woman for the Republican National Committee, Lori Klein Corbin, as well as Gibbons, the Cleveland investor-turned-Senate candidate.

Superfeed’s annual reports to the state of Arizona show a number of blown deadlines. After the state approved its amended business articles in Oct. 2020, Superfeed failed to file an annual report for more than two years, missing all of 2021 and nearly all of 2022, filing its statements for 2020, 2021, and 2022 on Dec. 9 of that year. In the interim, the state yanked Superfeed’s authority to do business in Arizona, according to a notice sent to the company in December 2021.

This means that Superfeed was not authorized to conduct business in Arizona during the 2022 campaign, when Lake, Lamon, Cooper, Smith, and Turning Point Action were all using the app. Lake was also collecting payments from the company while its license was suspended.

Superfeed appears to have missed yet another deadline last year, filing its 2023 annual report on Feb. 14 this year, submitting its 2024 report on the same day.

Last month, DeWit promoted Superfeed at an Arizona Republican Party meeting, even as his future as party chair hung in the balance. In those remarks, DeWit acknowledged that Superfeed was building an app for the state GOP, but promised that it “won’t cost the party a penny.”

“I’m very proud of my time at Superfeed,” DeWit told members, responding to a question about potential conflict of interest between his corporate and party roles. He promised the audience that “anything the state party uses that’s Superfeed-related won’t cost the party a penny,” citing an “agreement” with the company “to donate anything we use, for free.”

Should he not win re-election, DeWit said at the meeting, he was going to return to the investment world.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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