Four months ago, in an impulsive overreaction and at a critical point in the campaign just weeks before the closest Iowa caucus results in history, the DNC shut down the Sanders campaign’s access to its own voter file data, only restoring access after the campaign filed a lawsuit in Federal court.
The Clinton campaign in tandem with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz publicly accused the Sanders campaign of theft.
“This information is really key to our campaign and our strategy,” said Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook. “We are particularly disturbed right now that they are using the fact that they stole data as a reason to raise money for their campaign.”
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said that the Sanders campaign “inappropriately and systematically” accessed Clinton’s data.
Now, four months later, an independent investigation of the firewall failures in the DNC’s shared voter file database has definitively confirmed that the original claims by the DNC and the Clinton campaign were wholly inaccurate – the Sanders campaign never “stole” any voter file data; the Sanders campaign never “exported” any unauthorized voter file data; and the Sanders campaign certainly never had access to the Clinton campaign’s “strategic road map.”
Back in December the Sanders campaign vehemently denied any theft of Clinton’s information.
“Clearly, in this case, they are trying to help the Clinton campaign,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said of the Democratic National Committee.
The independent investigation has confirmed what the Sanders campaign said from the start:
- The DNC’s security failures allowed four Sanders campaign staffers – three junior-level staffers led by a manager who had been hired at the recommendation of the DNC and who was immediately terminated after the incident – to have extremely short-lived access for one hour to Hillary for America’s scoring models, but not to any of Hillary for America’s proprietary voter data.
- No one else in the Sanders campaign, outside these four staffers, accessed the Hillary for America’s scoring models or had knowledge that the activity was taking place until well after the incident was over.
- With one exception, all unauthorized access took place within the DNC’s own system. While there is evidence that the terminated staffer may have exported a summary data table, the independent investigation of Sanders campaign computers could not locate that file and no one in the Sanders campaign has ever seen that file.
With the investigation behind us, the campaign has withdrawn its lawsuit against the DNC today but continues to implore the DNC to address the systemic instability that remains in its voter file system. It is imperative that the DNC make it a top priority to prevent future data security failures in the voter file system, failures that only serve as unnecessary distractions to the democratic process.
Bernie Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver said “We are gratified by the results of this independent investigation.”