Officials with the Wisconsin Republican Party told the Associated Press on Thursday that hackers broke into the party’s coffers and stole $2.3 million designated for promoting the re-election of President Donald Trump.
According to the AP, GOP officials discovered the hack on Oct. 22 and called the FBI on Friday.
Wisconsin Party Chairman Andrew Hitt told the outlet that the FBI has launched an investigation into the theft. The AP said the FBI has yet to respond to inquiries about the alleged theft.
The timing of the hack comes as the Trump campaign is attempting to ward off the efforts of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and repeat its surprise victory of 2016.
The Badger State has been seen during the entire 2020 election cycle as a key battleground state after Trump beat Hillary Clinton there in 2016 after she infamously took the state for granted and barely campaigned there. Trump took the state by only 23,000 votes.
How did this happen?
Hitt told the AP that the hackers were able to steal the funds by altering vendor invoices.
From the AP:
Hitt said the hackers manipulated invoices from four vendors who were being paid for direct mail for Trump’s reelection efforts as well as for pro-Trump material such as hats to be handed out to supporters. Invoices and other documents were altered so when the party paid them for the services rendered, the money went to the hackers instead of the vendors, Hitt said.
The hack was discovered after someone noticed that an invoice was generated that should not have been, he said.
How is the race going in Wisconsin?
Polls in the state have varied wildly over the last week.
For example, a Washington Post/ABC News poll reported Wednesday showed Biden with a 17-point lead over Trump, 57% to 40%. The poll was conducted Oct. 20-25.
However, a new Trafalgar Group poll conducted Oct. 24-25 showed Biden with lead of less than half a point, 47.5% to 47.1%
According to RealClearPolitics’ average of polls, Biden currently leads Trump by an average of 6.4 percentage points.
The RealClearPolitics site shows that on this date (Oct. 29) four years ago, Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump by an average of 6.2 points. She had a 6.5-point lead going into Election Day.