Bernie Sanders has apparently settled an explosive lawsuit filed in federal court against the Democratic National Committee about access to sensitive voter data.
Both sides claimed victory in a deal that emerged shortly before they were scheduled to sit down with a judge to sort things out. “Clearly, they were very concerned about their prospects in court,” insisted Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver, AFP reported.
The 12-page lawsuit prompted what the Inquisitr yesterday deemed a Democratic “civil war” between the insurgent and grassroots Sanders campaign versus party bigwigs and large corporate donors who support front-runner Hillary Clinton for the election 2016 presidential nomination.
“The reaction to the data breach, the depth of which was debated by all involved, tore open an ugly fault line between two camps that had so far engaged in a relatively civil White House campaign,” AP observed.
Bernie Sanders, 74, a U.S. Senator from Vermont, is an independent socialist running for president as a Democrat, and receives a lot of his funding from small donors. Sanders has positioned himself as an anti-establishment candidate.
The lawsuit followed an allegation that a Sanders staffer hacked into the database of Clinton’s voter file, an investigation into which is ongoing. Following the breach, the DNC blocked Team Sanders from gaining access to any voter info, which Bernie’s lawsuit claimed was costing the campaign $600,000 a day in missed donations.
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) December 19, 2015
The Clinton campaign claimed that the breach was an “act of theft,” while the Sanders campaign argued that the response/overreaction to it was an an attempt to sabotage the Vermont presidential hopeful’s bid for the White House.
One Sanders campaign staffer has been fired as a result of the flap.
“The Democratic National Committee on Friday capitulated and agreed to reinstate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign’s access to a critically-important voter database,” declared the Sanders campaign.
“The voter file is vital to modern campaigns that use data to identify likely voters, discover what their leanings are, and figure out how best to use their time and resources to identify their supporters in the weeks before election day. Those get-out-the-vote efforts are crucial, especially in a primary when just a few thousand voters in either direction can mean the difference between a win or a loss,” the Boston Globe noted.
In turn, the DNC issued its own statement, ABC News reported.
“The Sanders campaign has now complied with the DNC’s request to provide the information that we have requested of them. Based on this information, we are restoring the Sanders campaign’s access to the voter file, but will continue to investigate to ensure that the data that was inappropriately accessed has been deleted and is no longer in possession of the Sanders campaign.The Sanders campaign has agreed to fully cooperate with the continuing DNC investigation of this breach.”
Republicans reportedly grant all of its candidates equal access to the party’s data file.
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) December 19, 2015
Clinton, Sanders, and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley debate tonight in New Hampshire, where this dispute presumably will be part of the conversation and may provide a much-needed ratings boost.
Critics on both sides of the aisle, as well as Hillary’s rivals, have criticized Clinton-favoring Democrat power brokers for putting the debate on Saturday night when many potential viewers are out socializing, especially during the holiday season. Many suspect this may be a way to protect the charisma-challenged Hillary Clinton from rhetorical missteps or gaffes that would otherwise attract a lot more attention.
This programming decision comes in sharp contrast to the Republicans, whose prime time and contentious midweek debates have generated huge ratings.
“Some liberals have long held that the DNC’s sanctioning of fewer debates this cycle, with half of those debates taking place over a weekend, was an attempt by the national party to shield Clinton from scrutiny and ease the path to the nomination for the prohibitive front-runner,” The Hill explained.
Added columnist Frank Bruni of the New York Times, “And a real vulnerability is that [Hillary Clinton is] seen by voters as entrenched political royalty and thus distant — too distant — from those ‘everyday Americans’ she talked about so much at the start of her campaign. That’s one of the problems with the Democratic debate schedule: It smacks of special treatment, and Clinton, who set up her own home-brewed email account as secretary of state, can’t afford to keep giving voters the impression that normal rules don’t apply to her.”
In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz displayed no willingness to increase the number of Democrat debates between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton (plus O’Malley) beyond the six already scheduled and of which the third is tonight.
[Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP]