Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who just raked in $6.1 million in campaign donations in the first 24 hours after kicking off his presidential bid, as a teenager was a member of the Cult of the Dead Cow, an old (relatively speaking) and well-known hacking group, whose activities compelled Microsoft to boost the security of Windows.
There’s no evidence the former Congressman from Texas broke into computers or rewrote code, as members of the group were known to do, according to a Reuters report. But he did apparently, by his own admission, cop long distance service to engage in conversations online, the report said.
“There’s just this profound value in being able to be apart from the system and look at it critically,” Reuters cited O’Rourke as saying. “I think of the Cult of the Dead Cow as a great example of that.”
Some U.S. lawmakers have been criticized for their lack of technical and cybersecurity expertise even as they attempt to craft legislation to protect data and privacy and fend off nation-state cyberattacks.
O’Rourke has proven somewhat of a fundraising and campaigning phenomenon – raking in $80 million to go head to head with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during the 2018 primary election, defying predictions to come within three points of the incumbent in the final tally. Ivy League-educated and a former punk rocker, O’Rourke is known for lacing up his sneakers and running with constituents as well as driving himself on extended road trips from locale to locale, hitting up every county in Texas during his senatorial run in 2018. His hacker background is just another unusual facet that O’Rourke believes is an asset.