After accusing the Democratic National Committee of attempting to sandbag his campaign with accusations of illicitly accessing Clinton Data, Bernie Sanders has announced that his campaign is officially suing the DNC.
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.
The leadership of the Democratic National Committee is now actively attempting to undermine our campaign. This is unacceptable. 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.
By refusing the Sanders camp access to the database, the DNC is essentially holding the entire Democratic voter base hostage. Or, as explained in the campaign’s lawsuit, “The loss of DNC support could significantly disadvantage, if not cripple, a Democratic candidate’s campaign for public office,.” Sanders’ campaign insists that, while its staffers actions were inappropriate (one of whom has since been fired over the incident), it’s the vendor of the DNC’s database technology, NGP VAN, that’s truly at fault.
And, as it just so happens NGP VAN’s CEO, Stu Trevelyan, was also a former White House staffer under Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton’s Press Secretary has since tweeted the following in response to Sanders’ fight against the DNC’s actions:
If you are so proud of your grassroots organization, you should not need to resort to stealing campaign data.— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) December 18, 2015
NGP VAN released a statement, noting:
First, no NGP data was impacted by this situation, nor any Action ID or FastAction data. No client websites or web site data were impacted, either. For VAN clients, no myMembers, myWorkers, or myCampaigns data was impacted. The one area that was impacted was voter file data. We are confident at this point that no campaigns have access to or have retained any voter file data of any other clients; with one possible exception, one of the presidential campaigns. NGP VAN is providing a thorough report to the DNC on what happened and conducting a review to ensure the integrity of the system.
First, a one page-style report containing summary data on a list was saved out of VoteBuilder by one Sanders user. This is what some people have referred to as the “export” from VoteBuilder. As noted below, users were unable to export lists of people.
Second, there has been independent confirmation that NGP VAN has not received previous notice of a data breach regarding NGP VAN. Josh Uretsky, the former National Data Director for the Sanders campaign confirmed on MSNBC (at 5:47), and also on CNN, regarding the previous incident: “it wasn’t actually within the VAN VoteBuilder system, it was another system.”
Hillary Clinton’s campaign did not immediately respond to request for comment. You can read the lawsuit in full below.