A mysterious company associated with Project ORCA, the failed election reporting tool meant to aide the Romney campaign’s Election Day “get out the vote” efforts, disappeared from the Internet shortly after November 6th.
An Oct. 25 ORCA training email from former Romney campaign director of voter contact Dan Centinello, obtained by The Daily Caller from an ORCA volunteer, contained a link that sent volunteers to TheCheckmateCompany.com to view a training video on the system.
That link is now dead, and the website disappeared from the Internet as early as November 9, according to a report by Infoworld’s Robert X. Cringley.
The Checkmate Company also could not be found through a search on business search engine Manta.com, suggesting that the site was not a registered business.
Ars Technica reported that according to internal campaign sources, ORCA was built internally by staff and volunteers. The Checkmate Company, a former senior staffer within the Romney campaign told TheDC, was the umbrella organization within which staff and volunteers involved with ORCA were organized.
Centinello and former Romney campaign director of technology Kevin Rewkowski did not return TheDC’s request for comment.
TheDC previously reported on the Romney campaigns’ silence regarding the origin and cost of ORCA.
Former digital director Zac Moffatt told The Daily Caller that ORCA was a project of the political department of the campaign, not the digital department. Both Moffatt and former campaign digital rapid response director Lenny Alcivar also pushed back against accusations that ORCA was a disastrous failure.
Alcivar also told TheDC that new voting data for 91 percent of the nation’s counties was recorded by the system on Election Day by ORCA.
While the TheCheckmateCompany.com is offline, cached copies exist and are searchable via Google. One copy from November 3 reveals a link with a broken image that leads to Internet Information Services for Windows Server, a Microsoft web server. Another cached copy of the site from November 4 reveals a telephone assistance number that is now no longer in service.
According to StatsDomain.com, it is estimated that the site was hosted on one server, which is consistent with previous reports of ORCA’s estimated specifications.
The domain name TheCheckmateCompany.com was registered August 16 through Domains by Proxy, concealing the true identity of the domain’s owner. A Twitter account associated with the phantom company was registered on August 16.
Please send tips regarding Project ORCA and The Checkmate Company to firstname.lastname@example.org.