Bernie Sanders just declared war on the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton Campaign. After being banned from the DNC's voter database over a security breach, the Sanders Campaign has filed a lawsuit against the committee and accused it of conspiring with Clinton to win her the nomination.
The Democratic National Committee announced Friday that Sanders' campaign is banned from the DNC voter database after they discovered that the campaign had tried to access valuable Clinton voter data. The Sanders campaign fired their national director Josh Uretsky over the incident, but Uretsky told CNN that they were simply trying to prove that the DNC was not properly securing the data. Despite the explanation from the Sanders camp, the DNC chose to block them out of the system, a potentially "campaign-threatening blow."
In response, the Sanders campaign filed a lawsuit Friday evening that lays all the blame on the DNC, insisting that the data breach was entirely the fault of the party and its data vendor.
"The DNC may not suspend the Campaign’s access to critical Voter Data out of haste or desperation to clean up after the DNC’s own mistakes."
"The DNC may not suspend the Campaign’s access to critical Voter Data out of haste or desperation to clean up after the DNC’s own mistakes," the complaint states.
"The DNC, in an inappropriate overreaction, has denied us access to our own data," Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said in a press conference in Washington on Friday. "In other words, the leadership of the Democratic National Committee is actively trying to undermine our campaign."
Weaver suggested that the DNC was deliberately working to promote Clinton and noted that "some of our data was lost to one of the other campaigns" a few months ago—insinuating that the Clinton campaign had breached the data, which they deny.
Clinton's camp is pushing back hard against Sanders, insisting the ban must remain until they have assurance that Sanders no longer has any access to its data.
"They stole data as a reason to raise money for their campaign," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told reporters Friday night.
"This was a very egregious breach and our data was stolen, this was not an inadvertent glimpse into our data. It was not, as the Sanders campaign has described it, as a mistake," said Mook. "This is incredibly disappointing. This is someone who said he was going to run a different kind of campaign."
The DNC sent out a message Friday from their chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl.), to its members defending their actions:
Once the DNC became aware that the Sanders campaign had inappropriately and systematically accessed Clinton campaign data, and in doing so violated the agreement that all the presidential campaigns have signed with the DNC, as the agreement provides, we directed NGP VAN [the vendor that supplies access to the database] to suspend the Sanders campaign's access to the system until the DNC is provided with a full accounting of whether or not this information was used and the way in which it was disposed.
Schultz later admitted to CNN's Wolf Blitzer that she's "not familiar enough technologically to describe what it is they do and do not have access to," but she did say that banning the Sanders campaign from having access to the data was the only way to protect the data.
Many outside the Sanders camp are livid with the DNC's actions as well. Prominent liberal organizations MoveOn.org and Democracy For America are pressuring the DNC to remove the ban. Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy For America, told CNN, "The Democratic National Committee's decision to attack the campaign that figured out the problem, rather than go after the vendor that made the mistake, is profoundly damaging to the party's Democratic process."
IJ Review's Stephen Miller suggests that the DNC's move could provoke Sanders to run third party, arguing that Schultz "playing with fire if she thinks Sanders supporters will simply turn the cheek, forgive and forget, and turn up in droves to vote for Hillary Clinton. This latest dust up could be the exact excuse Sanders needs to pursue his socialist revolution as an Independent, while taking his crowds with him." Miller also speculates that Sanders' supporters might not turn out for Clinton out of spite, and hence cause her to lose the general election.
Finally, the Democratic presidential primary is getting interesting. Very interesting.