Steve Bannon’s data firm in talks for lucrative White House contracts

Cambridge Analytica is backed by Robert Mercer, whose daughter is on the Trump transition team, while Trump's soon-to-be chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is on the board

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The data company that helped push Donald Trump to victory is now hoping it will win two lucrative contracts to boost White House policy messaging and to expand sales for the Trump Organization.

Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm that uses personality profiling, claims Steve Bannon as a board member, who will soon officially be Mr Trump’s chief strategist.

The firm is backed by billionaire investor Robert Mercer, whose daughter Rebekah sits on the 16-person Trump transition team.

The news casts further shade over the president-elect’s potential conflicts of interest, after a group of Indian businessmen came to Trump Tower this week and the revelation that Mr Trump's children, who have sat in on meetings with world leaders, would run his “blind trust”. He has faced increasing calls to divest from his business assets to avoid further conflicts.

The Republican National Committee would have to approve any deals with Cambridge Analytica as it normally pays for White House communication consultants.

The London-based firm said it has marketing and psychological data on around 230 million Americans, which could help Mr Trump to increase his real estate business, or scope out the policy landscape for his government.

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Ties between Mr Trump, Mr Bannon and the Mercers run deep, as reported by Politico and the Guardian.

Cambridge Analytica, mostly owned by the Mercer family, was first employed as a data vendor for the campaign of Ted Cruz, which Mr Mercer supported before switching allegiance to Mr Trump.

The Mercers donated $2 million to Make America Number 1, the pro-Trump Super Pac led by Rebekah Mercer, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That Super Pac paid $187,000 to a film company called Glittering Steel that Mr Bannon heads to make an anti-Hillary Clinton film - at the same time that he was acting as an unpaid CEO of the Trump political campaign.

Mr Mercer also donated $10 million to alt-right platform Breitbart News, from which Mr Bannon said he would step down as executive chairman once he becomes Mr Trump’s chief strategist and senior counsel.

The Trump campaign and Cambridge Analytica could not be immediately reached for comment.