Sanders campaign suspicious of Microsoft's role in Iowa caucuses

Sanders campaign suspicious of Microsoft's role in Iowa caucuses
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Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight MORE’s presidential campaign is questioning Microsoft’s involvement in the Iowa caucuses next week. 

Pete D’Alessandro, who runs the Iowa operation for Sanders, told MSNBC he wonders why Microsoft is providing technology for Monday's first-in-the-nation contest.

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“You’d have to ask yourself why they’d want to give something like that away for free,” he said.

The Sanders campaign highlighted the hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions that Microsoft employees have given to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain MORE, Sanders's main rival for the Democratic nomination, over the years.

D’Alessandro said the Sanders campaign has built its own reporting system and has other backups in place. Clinton’s campaign is doing the same. 

“It’s just a way that our folks can have an app that we trust to get the numbers to us in a timely fashion,” D’Alessandro said. “I’m always going to be more for sure on the stuff that my people had control over the entire time. ... If there are any problems, we can spot them right away.”

Last year, Iowa Republicans and Democrats announced the rollout of an app that will allow precinct chairmen from both parties to report their election results to their respective party headquarters.

The platform is built on Microsoft technology and the results will be stored in the technology company’s cloud platform. Both parties framed the move as a step toward security, accuracy and speed.

Microsoft defended its work in a statement to MSNBC.

“Microsoft is providing technology and services solely to administer and facilitate a neutral, accurate, efficient reporting system for the caucuses,” the company said. ”We are proud to partner with the Iowa Democratic and Republican parties to ensure accurate results on caucus night.”

UPDATE 12:10 P.M. — The Iowa Democratic Party released a statement defending its partnership with Microsoft:

"The Iowa Democratic Party has always believed in the importance of new election technology, and we have been proud to partner with both the Republican Party of Iowa and Microsoft on our new 2016 Iowa Caucuses reporting app that has been in the works for more than a year,” said the state party’s communications director Sam Lau. “Microsoft and their App partner, InterKnowlogy, are global leaders in the technology industry, and we completely trust the integrity of their staff and the app.  The app will help make caucus reporting more efficient, accurate and secure, and we look forward to seeing it in action on caucus night."