The Democratic National Committee has suspended the Bernie Sanders campaign from accessing the voter database amassed by the party which is typically shared with all campaigns. The suspension stems from a Sanders campaign staffer finding a “software error” in the voter database being used by Hillary Clinton, and illegally accessing voter information. The staffer has been fired and the Sanders campaign issued an apology.
Report from CNN:
The Democratic National Committee suspended Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign’s access to the DNC voter database after the party organization said the campaign was able to take advantage of a software error to access Hillary Clinton’s confidential voter information.
The suspension is a setback for the Vermont senator — who fired the staffer involved — because the database is a goldmine of information about voters nationwide. Campaigns usually use that data to plot their next moves.
The DNC database keeps the information gathered by different campaigns separated by a firewall.
But the data systems vendor that runs the program dropped the firewall for a brief period Wednesday, during which time the data was accessed.
The Washington Post was the first to report the incident.
The fired staffer was the campaign’s national data director, Josh Uretsky, who told CNN Friday morning that he was not trying to access Clinton voter data.
He said instead that he was just trying to “understand how badly the Sanders campaign’s data was exposed” by the software error.
“We knew there was a security breach in the data, and we were just trying to understand it and what was happening,” Uretsky said.
He added that to the best of his knowledge, “nobody took anything that would have given the (Sanders) campaign any benefit.”
Sanders’ spokesman Michael Briggs said, “That behavior is unacceptable and that staffer was fired immediately.”
Some will argue, especially supporters of Sanders, that the DNC is going overboard here in attempts to keep the Vermont Senator locked out of valuable voter information needed to work a ground game during the primaries. This story is still developing, I’m sure we’ll see more details out today.
Bernie Sanders is threatening to sue the DNC to restore access, story from Politico:
Bernie Sanders’ campaign on Friday threatened to sue the Democratic National Committee for suspending its access to the national voter database, saying the move threatens to undermine the Vermont senator’s presidential run.
Even as the campaign admitted its staffers had inappropriately reviewed and saved Hillary Clinton campaign data made available as a result of a software error, it emphatically accused the DNC of sabotage and of blatantly favoring Clinton.
“We are announcing today that if the DNC continues to hold our data hostage, and continues to try to attack the heart and soul of our campaign, we will be in federal court this afternoon seeking an immediate injunction,” Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver said at a press conference Friday afternoon, on the eve of the third Democratic debate.
“The leadership of the Democratic National Committee is now actively attempting to undermine our campaign. This is unacceptable,” he said. “Individual leaders of the DNC can support Hillary Clinton in any way they want, but they are not going to sabotage our campaign — one of the strongest grassroots campaigns in modern history.” [Emphasis added]
The statement plainly says the Sanders campaign believes they’re being punished like this because the DNC is in the pocket of the Clintons. They are outright accusing the DNC of trying to sabotage and stifle the campaign by revoking the voter information access.
The DNC Chairwoman has responded:
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schutz, speaking on CNN, said its action to suspend Sanders’ access to the voter file was “certainly not unreasonable.”
She said if the shoe was on the other foot, and the Clinton camp had accessed Sanders’ data, “I’m confident that this is the decision that they would expect from us.”
I’ll let you be the judge here. It’s very likely this issue comes up at the Democratic debate on Saturday night, how will Sanders handle the matter? Hillary will brush it off with no comment since she has nothing to gain from piling on any further.