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How a video of Steve Dickson at a strip club was leaked just in time for the election.

Three weeks out from a federal election, a damning video of One Nation Senate candidate Steve Dickson in a US strip club was leaked to A Current Affair.

The timing is disastrous for One Nation’s election campaign. Dickson resigned on Tuesday.

Someone, somewhere knew this video existed and they knew now would be an opportune moment to release it.

The Quicky team talk to competitive intelligence consultant Eric Ohlsen about digging up the dirt. Post continues after audio…

For competitive intelligence consultant Eric Ohlsen, digging up the dirt on politicians is a full time job.

Speaking to Mamamia‘s daily news podcast The Quicky, Ohlsen said it would be safe to assume every election in the Western world has someone working in competitive intelligence.

When hired – by a campaign manager, consultant, and occasionally even the candidate themselves – Ohlsen begins his research innocently enough, just as we would, a simple Facebook stalk of a new colleague or a friend’s ex. But then he digs deeper.

“I start out with Facebook and LinkedIn and a Google search,” he said. “People provide a huge amount of information about themselves and I can use that information to find other things out about them.

“Or it’s news coverage or documents that are available online, a huge amount of documents are available that really would shock people.

“From there, it’s thinking about where a person has interacted with the government. What do they do for a living? Where do they live? Have they paid their taxes? Who regulates the industries that they work in? Have they been to court?”

steve dickson a current affair strip club
A screenshot obtained on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, from Nine's A Current Affair, that shows One Nation senate candidate Steve Dickson in a US strip club. Image: AAP.
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Their research can have major impact on a campaign: During the United States' 2012 Presidential Election, criticism of Republican candidate Mitt Romney's wealth ramped up after news broke that Romney planned a $12 million expansion of his oceanfront Californian property that included "car elevators".

Critics used this to label Romney as "out of touch" with average working Americans.

The car elevator information came after an intelligence researcher requested the blueprints to Romney's home from a local construction oversight company, Ohlsen said.

There is of course, lines Ohlsen won't cross. Both legally and morally.

"I do frequently find things out that are very, very personal about a target and in that case I am not going to risk putting that information down on paper because of the number of people who might have access to a report," he explained. "There are times where I have given the clients a call or met with them in person to walk them through things I have found that I'm not going to include in a report."

So, while Steve Dickson continues to defend himself as a family man who just drank more than he should have, there may just be an intelligence researcher high-fiving their client for such a win.

And with three weeks left to go, there's a chance more dirt will be slung from all sides of the Australian political spectrum.

Buckle in, folks.

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