Back in December, Bernie Sanders’s campaignfaced a bit of controversy after a glitch in the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) software allowed a staffer in the Sanders camp to access Hillary Clinton’s voter data for a short period of time.
The staffer was subsequently fired, as was Sanders’s former national data director Josh Uretsky, but the DNC still suspended the Sanders campaign from access to crucial voter information for 24 hours before the issue was resolved.
The Sanders campaign has now filed paperwork to sue the DNC for this suspension, arguing that the DNC gave Clinton an advantage by revoking his campaign’s access to the voter database, and specifically claiming that the “DNC broke its contract with the campaign, which stated that the DNC must give notice before suspending access to information.”
Jeff Weaver, Sanders’s campaign manager, said during the initial incident that, “The DNC, in an inappropriate overreaction, has denied us access to our own data. In other words, the leadership of the Democratic National Committee is actively trying to undermine our campaign.”
Sanders is suing for $75,000, which is not a large sum in the scheme of things, but the message Sanders is sending with the lawsuit is clear: he will no longer back down from the DNC.
Sanders supporters have long argued that the DNC is in the bag for Hillary Clinton, particularly its chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was the co-chair of Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Schultz has made her bias toward Clinton abundantly clear on multiple occasions, though she still claims she is “neutral”; she actively worked to decrease the number of debates between Sanders and Clinton (limiting them to six) and scheduled them for weekends, believing these tactics benefitted Clinton.
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who was vice-chair of the DNC, resigned to endorse Sanders and later alleged that all DNC members were “warned” not to endorse the Vermont senator.
Sanders has maintained that his campaign is rooted in fighting the “establishment,” which is exactly what the DNC embodies—a group of corporatist, neoliberal Democrats who have no interest in changing the status quo.
Outwardly, both the Sanders campaign and the DNC have insisted that everything is going fine. Sanders communications director Michael Briggs stated that, “We are continuing to cooperate with the DNC to resolve the matter and hope to do so in short order,” while DNC press secretary Mark Paustenbach told Politco, “We continue to have productive discussions with the Sanders campaign and look forward to resolving this matter."
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