Clinton campaign says Sanders staff may have broken law

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Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the White House alleged on Friday evening that Bernie Sanders staffers engaged in what was “potentially a crime,” and demanded the rival campaign prove they don’t still have access to the breached voter files.
“This is totally unacceptable and may have been a violation of the law,” said Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook.
{mosads}“There may be damage here that can’t be undone and I hope the Sanders campaign will acknowledge what they did, but we need assurances as soon as possible that they can’t continue to do more damage,” he continued.
Mook excoriated the Sanders campaign for fundraising off the issue and for politicizing it by claiming it was evidence the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was in the tank for Clinton.
The Vermont senator’s campaign sent out a fundraising email Friday afternoon that called on supporters to sign a petition calling on the DNC to return the data back to Sanders.
“This is incredibly disappointing,” said Mook. “Someone who said they’d run a different kind of campaign, and their staff stole data from us and is seeking to fundraise off this. It’s very serious and not something to be fundraising off of.”
The Clinton campaign dismissed the notion, put forth by the Sanders campaign, that a lone staffer had happened upon the data thanks to a mistake by the DNC’s data vendor, insisting that on 25 occasions at least four Sanders staffers made inquiries into their data tables and sought to save or export the data to maintain possession of it.
And the Clinton campaign sought to highlight the importance of the data that had been breached.
“The data they reached in and took from our campaign is effectively the strategic roadmap for us,” Mook said. “They could ascertain how many people we expect to run and a number of other fundamental parts of our strategy.”
Mook called the data breach “egregious” and noted that the campaign’s voter file and information are “fundamental keys of our campaign.”
“This was not an inadvertent glimpse into our data, not a mistake,” Mook said. “They made 25 intentional and targeted searches of our data.”

Mook repeated throughout the call that the campaign would not get involved in the resolution and urged the DNC and the Sanders campaign to “remedy” the breach and ensure that the Vermont senator’s campaign no longer has access to Clinton’s voter files.

“We want as much as anyone else to have a fair campaign,” Mook said. “It’s up to the Sanders’ campaign and the DNC to get the situation resolved and make sure there’s fairness to the campaign.”

The call comes an hour after Sanders’s campaign filed a lawsuit Friday evening in federal court against the DNC. When asked whether the Clinton camp would counter the suit, Mook maintained that the campaign will stay out of it.

Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver responded on CNN, reiterating his team’s call for the DNC to return the data.

“We can not run this campaign without this data, so they are attempting to cripple our campaign and we are not going to stand for it,” he said. “You don’t get to give a campaign a death penalty because some young staffer who’s been fired made an act of misjudgment.

“The interconnection between people in the Democratic establishment connected to the Clintons and with the DNC, the evidence is pretty overwhelming,” Weaver added.

He noted that the same law firm represents both Clinton and the DNC and that the principal at the DNC’s data vendor donated to a pro-Clinton super-PAC.  

Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon called into CNN to respond.

“For someone like Sen. Sanders who said he was going to run a different type of campaign, this is as below-the-belt as it goes,” he said while Weaver sat at the table alongside anchor Wolf Blitzer.

“They went hog-wild, downloading as much data as they could get in about 25 minutes.”

—Updated at 7:08 p.m.

Tags Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton

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