A group of Bernie Sanders supporters has filed a class action lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee for “conscious disregard or indifference to the rights” of donors. However, the DNC says that the plaintiffs have no case because they gave donations knowing the the DNC favored Hillary Clinton. The DNC’s lawyers say that the proof is in social media postings made by several plaintiffs in which they accuse the DNC of being in favor of Clinton before making their contributions anyway. Therefore, the lawyers argue that the complaints are void as the plaintiffs seemingly knew of the DNC’s intention to have Hillary elected before making their donations to the committee.
— Kurt Hackbarth (@KurtHackbarth) September 23, 2016
The DNC lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in the Southern District of Florida. In total, 151 plaintiffs are listed in the class action lawsuit with the filing noting that thousands more are willing to testify and serve as representatives in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit centers around allegations that the DNC supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries, at times allegedly even attempting to sabotage the Sanders campaign, rather than remaining neutral as the DNC bylaws outline. The DNC bylaw Article 5, Section 4 notes that the organization must remain neutral throughout the nominating process.
“In the conduct and management of the affairs and procedures of the Democratic National Committee, particularly as they apply to the preparation and conduct of the Presidential nominating process, the Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.”
According to Huffington Post, an email leak by Guccifer 2.0 confirmed Berniecrats’ worst fears; the DNC had seemingly been favoring Hillary Clinton throughout the primaries and at times indicated they were attempting to sabotage the Sanders’ campaign. One particularly damning email included conversations about cornering Sanders on his faith by getting him to say he is an atheist instead of letting him skirt around the question by saying he has Jewish heritage. It was noted that this faith question could hurt him in the religious crowd.
“My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”
This show of favoritism, according to the Bernie Sanders plaintiffs resulted in a breach of DNC bylaws and ultimately negligence and malicious intent on the DNC’s part in accepting donations from Sanders’ supporters.
— CallawayBOT (@CallawayBOT) September 23, 2016
However, the DNC says the lawsuit has no merit because the defendants knew the DNC was favoring Clinton before making their donations. In other words, since Sanders’ supporters speculated early on that the DNC was screwing over Bernie but donated anyway, they have no case.
The DNC responded by pointing to a series of social media posts made by some of the plaintiffs.
“For example, Rick Washik, donated to the Sanders Campaign between February 2016 and June 2016, months after posting a link to a petition that claimed that Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz was biased. Catherine Cyko, 19, donated to the Sanders Campaign between February 28, 2016 and June 30, 2016, after she posted an article accusing the DNC of bias. Marlowe St. Cloud Primacy, made her first reported donation to the Sanders Campaign on March 8, 2016, several days after posting an article accusing the DNC of bias.Rosalie Consiglio,, made her first reported donation to the Sanders Campaign a week after posting an article accusing the DNC of bias…
This sample demonstrates that, aside from not being actionable, Plaintiffs’ theory that donors relied upon Defendants’ statements about neutrality to make donations they would not have otherwise made is not plausible.”
The lawyers seem to be implying that since the Bernie Sanders supporters suspected that the DNC was favoring Clinton, they cannot claim that the DNC’s statements about neutrality affected their decisions. Instead, the lawyers say that the social media posts prove that they knew the DNC was supporting Clinton but donated anyway. Therefore, the case against the DNC is non-actionable as the plaintiffs have demonstrated that they knew the DNC was supporting Clinton’s campaign and not Sanders’s.
#DNC attorneys mined our social media. Some publicly complained of bias, therefore we knew about it, so it was fine. https://t.co/D00oV6rRHm
— kim (@kim) September 22, 2016
What do you think about the DNC lawyers’ claims that the class action lawsuit against the DNC should be dropped due to the fact that the plaintiffs knew the DNC favored Hillary Clinton?
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