Shortly before the results of the caucuses were expected to be reported, a "quality control" issue was detected. According to Mandy McClure, a spokesperson for the Iowa Democratic Party, "inconsistencies" were discovered in the reporting of the results.
"The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results," she said.
The developer behind the app is reported by multiple sources to be Shadow, a Democrat-leaning tech firm that is now under scrutiny. According to The Intercept reporter Lee Fang, the developer was paid by both the Nevada and Iowa Democratic Party and the campaign of Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who CNN reported controversially declared victory at the caucuses before the results were released.
Fang reported that disclosures show that the Nevada Democrats federal account funneled $58,000 to Shadow in August, while the Iowa Democrats state account paid the company $63,183 across two payments in November and December. He reports that the results suggest the app was developed just months ago and notes that Shadow is a spinoff from ACRONYM, which he calls a "new Dem dark money/superPAC hybrid."
Fox Business reports that David Plouffe, who was part of both former President Barack Obama's presidential campaigns, is on ACRONYM's board of directors. However, Plouffe denied knowing anything about Shadow while speaking to MSNBC's Chris Hayes during a Monday night interview.
"My understanding, I just texted the CEO, is ACRONYM is an investor in Shadow, I guess Shadow has its own board of directors. In my relationship with ACRONYM, which has been going on for a few months, I have no knowledge of Shadow."Amid the chaos surrounding the results, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign released internal caucus numbers gathered from nearly 40 percent of the precincts in the state. According to the data, Sanders is in the lead, followed by Buttigieg in second, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in third. Given reports that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is attempting to stop Sanders' rise, his supporters remain skeptical of the purported technical issues of the app and the link between its developer and the Democratic establishment.
Buttigieg is also receiving criticism not just for his campaign's alleged donation to the failed app but for claiming victory before the official results. The move pushed "#MayorCheat" into the top trends on Twitter Tuesday morning.