The truth, according to sources familiar with the matter, is that the applications powering Orca were developed by an internal “skunkworks,” one made up of both campaign staffers and volunteers—not by a big-name consulting firm.
According to Federal Election Commission filings that we examined, the Romney campaign spent over $40 million on technology vendors. Targeted Victory, the firm founded by Romney’s Director of Digital Zac Moffatt, was the biggest single beneficiary of that spending, receiving more than $14 million as of the end of October. That money was both payment for its own social media consulting and development work, and for “pass-through” IT spending that went to other contractors such as Rockfish Interactive (the developers of Romney’s running mate announcement mobile app).
The investment in Orca, however, was a tiny fraction of the campaign’s IT spending. Sources tell us the Romney campaign tried systems similar to Orca during the Republican primaries, but on a much smaller scale. To prepare for the general election, the campaign pulled together a makeshift team of IT people and volunteers, and it was this team that built the full version of the Orca Web app and developed the backend systems to power it.