Report: Tech Leaders Linked to Iowa Caucus App Expressed Disgust for Bernie Sanders Fans

Bernie Supporters Iowa
Joel Pollak/Breitbart News

Leaders of the Democratic tech firm that was behind the Iowa caucus app debacle openly expressed their hostility toward Bernie Sanders supporters on a regular basis, according to a new report.

The Intercept, a left-leaning online publication, reported Tuesday that ACRONYM’s leadership regularly expressed hostility to supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The publication cited an anonymous individual who shared the relevant internal communications.

ACRONYM’s president and CEO Tara McGowan is married to Michael Halle, a senior strategist with the Pete Buttigieg campaign, according to the Intercept.

The publication noted that there is no evidence that these biases had any effect on the app issue that has stalled the Iowa caucus results.

ACRONYM is a non-profit organization that was founded to provide Democratic candidates with digital tools that are designed to help them secure victories. Last year, the group launched Shadow, Inc., the developer of the Iowa caucus app that was supposed to collect and report the results of Monday’s caucus.

But the app malfunctioned as a result of a “coding issue,” causing a massive delay in the reporting of the results. The delay has become a major embarrassment for the Democrat party and its candidates.

Shadow is headed by former staffers to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, including CEO Gerard Niemira, as well as product manager Ahna Rao, chief technology officer Krista Davis, and chief operating officer James Hickey.

Since Monday, ACRONYM has been distancing itself from Shadow. ACRONYM said in a statement Tuesday that it was only an “investor” in the firm. On its official site, ACRONYM says that it “launched” Shadow in 2019.

The Intercept reported that ACRONYM appears to have deleted portions of its website showcasing its involvement in Shadow, including a blog post written by Niemira linking the two organizations. According to the Intercept, ACRONYM and Shadow share office space in Denver.

The Iowa Democratic Party paid Shadow a little more than $63,000 in two installments in November and December, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Nevada State Democratic Party paid $58,000 to Shadow in August.

But Nevada Democratic officials said in a statement Tuesday that the party will not be using the Shadow app for its February caucus.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.