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Politics

Company behind Haley’s presidential bid faces harassment lawsuit

A former junior ColdSpark employee alleged in the suit that during a work dinner in late 2021, she was groped by Ryan Reynolds, a vice president at the company. (Reynolds, who left the company in December 2022, declined to comment for this story.) She claimed that senior management was informed of the incident but did not respond to it.

The woman said that after claiming she was discriminated against and harassed, she was “constructively terminated”, meaning the work environment became so hostile that she had no no other choice than to resign.

According to the lawsuit, the woman “understands” that Harris and another ColdSpark co-founder, Mike DeVanney, were “informed” of the harassment. DeVanney is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, while Harris is not. The woman, whom POLITICO is not naming because she claims to have been the victim of a sexual assault, did not respond to a request for comment.

Jeremy Neuhart, a spokesman for ColdSpark, Harris and DeVanney, said the firm and defendants deny his allegations and that many of them “fail as a matter of law.”

“ColdSpark Media and its owners did not become aware of the allegations until after (the complainant’s) resignation. ColdSpark Media and the other defendants believe that the court or a jury will find in their favor,” Neuhart added.

Timothy Prol, the plaintiff’s attorney, said the complaint speaks for itself and expressed confidence that the case would “establish the wrongdoing alleged in the complaint.”

Spokespeople for Haley’s campaign and the super PAC, as well as a spokesperson for McCormick’s campaign, did not respond to requests for comment.

Haley has many ties to ColdSpark. The Stand for America leadership PAC launched by Haley and the joint fundraising committee Team Stand for America have paid ColdSpark more than half a million dollars since March 2021 for advice on digital, fundraising and communications, as well as list rental, according to FEC records.

Since the beginning, Haley’s presidential campaign has also paid ColdSpark more than $30,000 in communications consulting, printing and graphic design work, according to FEC records. The communications director of his campaign, Nachama Soloveichikis a partner of Coldspark.

On a Coldspark website regarding their work for Haley, the company touts Haley’s support: “When I decided to start Stand For America, ColdSpark was there every step of the way. We wouldn’t have nearly two million members without their help. The company said its efforts to help create the group included “naming the organization, designing branding materials, creating hundreds of pieces of content and launching a digital fundraising operation “.

McCormick is a ColdSpark customer, according to an article from September by the company on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. His campaign paid ColdSpark nearly $115,000 during his unsuccessful 2022 Senate bid, according to FEC reports.

DeVanney and Harris were also seen huddling with McCormick at a recent state GOP meeting, a person in attendance said.




Politico

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