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Sara Taylor Fagen (born September 15, 1974, in Dubuque, Iowa) is an issue strategist who specializes in integrating data and technology. Fegen works with DDC Advocacy, a campaign, PR, & technology firm; Deep Root Analytics, a media analytics firm; Resonate Insights, a big-data online media firm; and CentraForce, a cross-media research company. She is a technology and data entrepreneur, and former political aide to George W. Bush.
In 2008, Fagen founded a media firm, BlueFront Strategies, as a strategic consulting and public affairs company to focus on issue advocacy and solutions for business. In mid-2009, Fagen co-founded, with public affairs veteran John Brady, the company Resonate Networks, an advertising firm that uses data on political leanings and attitudes to help companies and interest groups sell online ads.
Fagen became a Partner at DDC Advocacy in 2011 after the company acquired Bluefront Strategies. In 2013, Fagen, along with the partners of TargetPoint Consulting, formed Deep Root Analytics, a media analytics company that helps clients use big data to improve ad buying decisions. Fagen also sits on the board of CentraForce. Fagen's commentary appears on CNBC, where she is regular contributor.
Founded in 1996 by B.R. McConnon, III, Democracy Data & Communications, LLC (DDC) grew from a political software and technology-consulting firm—to DDC Advocacy, a full-service public affairs firm that consults on advocacy and strategy.
Deep Root Analytics
In 2013, Fagen and Target Point Consulting partners founded Deep Root Analytics, a media analytics company that helps clients use big data to make ad buying decisions. They aim to improve microtargeting by providing better web-enabled media targeting. In June 2017 cyber risk analyst Chris Vickery discovered Deep Root's data on an unsecure Amazon server, which exposed political data on more than 198 million American citizens. Sources of the data included American Crossroads, the Kantar Group and r/FatPeopleHate, among other subreddits.
Resonate Insights was founded in 2008 and has developed a model for using “big data” to build a sophisticated understanding of consumer motivations, values, attitudes, and beliefs. Resonate is headquartered in Reston, VA. with offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C., The company is privately held, having raised nearly $30M in funding from firms including Greycroft Partners, iNovia Capital, and Revolution Growth.
This single audience-centric database strives to help clients make critical decisions based on all available data—internal and external.
Education and early career
Fagen graduated from Wahlert High School, a private, co-educational, Roman Catholic school in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1992. She then attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. While in college, she was the National Co-Chairman of the College Republicans. She also took a year off, in 1995-1996, to work on Senator Phil Gramm's presidential campaign in Iowa.
In from April 1999, Fagen began working for the presidential campaign of George Bush. Her initial position, through January 2000, was coalitions director for Bush's Iowa caucus campaign. She then did field work in the South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and Illinois primaries, and finally served as executive director of the Michigan campaign. After Bush was elected, Fagen worked for the White House as an associate political director (Midwest) doing political and public affairs outreach.
Fagen became the Deputy to Matthew Dowd, Chief Strategist for the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign. Sara earned her reputation as one of the nation’s leading political and issue campaign strategists, serving as a senior aide and White House Political Director for President George W. Bush, and playing a pivotal part in the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. During the campaign, The Wall Street Journal called her a “data whiz,” and said: “As a top strategist for the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election efforts Fagen helped perfect political micro-targeting.” She also served as a senior strategist helping to direct the President’s message development, paid media strategy, and opinion research.
After Bush’s 2004 re-election, Fagen returned to work in the White House, where she served as the Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs and Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush. She left for the private sector in May 2007.
Dismissal of U.S. Attorneys controversy
On June 13, 2007, the Senate and House judiciary committees issued a subpoena to Taylor, to produce documents and testify before the committee. A subpoena was also issued to Harriet E. Miers, former White House counsel and supreme court nominee. In response to the subpoenas, the White House said that its longstanding policy was that no past or present White House officials would be permitted to testify under oath before the panels, and that only private, non-legally-binding, non-transcribed interviews would be permitted.
The Democratic chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees said that the White House terms were unacceptable.
A ranking member of the Senate Judiciary committee, Arlen Specter (R-PA) said that the White House had not responded to an April 11, 2007, inquiry by the committee, and he supported the issuance of the subpoena in light of the lack of response by the White House and Taylor. On July 9, 2007, White House counsel Fred Fielding, in letters to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative John Conyers (D-MI) said the President Bush is invoking executive privilege and not allowing Taylor to testify, but reiterated that Taylor was available for a private, off the record interview.
Fagen is the daughter of Ray Taylor, a former Iowa state representative. She is married.
- Cameron, Dell; Conger, Kate (June 19, 2017). "GOP Data Firm Accidentally Leaks Personal Details of Nearly 200 Million American Voters". Gizmodo. Archived from the original on June 19, 2017.
- Mary Rae Bragg (October 29, 2007). "Dubuque native found herself in the spotlight of a political controversy". Telegraph Herald.
- Sridhar Pappu (July 12, 2007). "A Bush Aide's Long Road From The White House". Washington Post.
- "Drake Honors Outstanding Alumni Achievement, Loyalty". Drake University. May 4, 2006. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- "President George W. Bush-Campaign Organization". Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- Stout, David (June 13, 2007). "Congress Subpoenas Miers and Another Former Bush Aide". New York Times.
- Marre, Klaus (June 13, 2007). "Specter endorses subpoena of White House official". The Hill.
|Director, White House Office of Political Affairs
February 2005 – May 31, 2007