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President Trump at a Sept. 9 MAGA rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A Republican PAC that supports President Trump's re-election campaign plans to use location data from voters' smartphones "to find people who may not be registered to vote" in about 6 swing states before 2020, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: This technique — called "geofencing" — was used by 2020 Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke during his 2018 Senate race, WSJ reports, and by CatholicVote, a conservative political advocacy group.

What's happening: The Committee to Defend the President "hired a company to collect unique identification numbers" from MAGA rally attendees' smartphones in North Carolina last month, per the WSJ —to create targeted ads that would drive people to the polls.

Between the lines, via the WSJ: "Political campaigns have long compiled exhaustive lists of all registered voters from state offices or other groups. They later supplemented that with demographic and purchasing information from data brokers in an approach called 'microtargeting' that has been used for years. Now detailed information gathered from smartphones is adding a new dimension to those techniques."

Go deeper: Political Campaigns Know Where You’ve Been. They’re Tracking Your Phone.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.