Presidential races

Sanders drops lawsuit against DNC

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Bernie Sanders’ campaign is dropping its lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee for restricting access to its voter files.

The move came Friday after an independent investigation into Democratic presidential campaigns’ handling of party voter data.

{mosads}The Sanders team said the investigation vindicated them and showed no evidence that they improperly accessed information belonging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“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 campaign said in a statement.

“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.’

The withdrawal of the lawsuits ends a months-long fight between Sanders and the Democratic party.

In December, the DNC alleged that Sanders staffers had improperly accessed Clinton’s campaign information. A Sanders aide at the time denied wrongdoing, saying they had only tried to document the security error to alert the DNC. That initial finding prompted the party to briefly block the Sanders campaign’s access to party files and data.

The Sanders campaign cried foul, accusing the DNC of tipping the scales to help front-runner Clinton less than two months before the Iowa caucuses.

The DNC rejected those charges, arguing they were acting to keep campaign data secure.

The final results of the investigation on Friday were not made public.

But Sanders’ campaign claimed the investigation showed the unauthorized access came from “the DNC’s security failures” and that only four campaign staffers, including one who was immediately fired, were aware they could access some of Clinton’s data for a one-hour window. 

The DNC said the investigation confirmed what they first learned.

“The forensic analysis conducted by the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike confirmed that the DNC’s initial findings, which were the basis of the temporary shutdown in December, were accurate,” said DNC communications director Luis Miranda in a statement.

“The audit confirmed that one campaign gained unauthorized access to the data of another, and the audit further confirmed that the results of those searches were saved within the system and that data was exported. Following the conclusion of the audit that confirmed the DNC’s original findings, the Sanders campaign withdrew its lawsuit.”

The DNC also provided a timeline that notes that the four Sanders staffers “conducted 25 searches using proprietary Hillary for America score data across 11 states.” 

Both sides acknowledge that one summary sheet with data related to New Hampshire appeared to have been saved off-site, but the Sanders campaign argued that the file did not exist on their computers and was never seen by any Sanders staffer. 

Sanders sits far behind Hillary Clinton in the delegate count and is effectively unable to steal the lead from her without convincing large numbers of superdelegates to switch their support.

This story was updated at 6:23 p.m.

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