Steyer aide stole Harris volunteer data in South Carolina: report

An aide with presidential candidate Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign in South Carolina used an account from his previous work with the state Democratic Party to steal volunteer data gathered by Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-Calif.) campaign, according to the Charleston Post and Courier.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) said they caught Steyer’s deputy South Carolina state director Dwane Sims in the act of attempting to export Harris’ campaign data, including volunteer contacts collected during the campaign, according to the newspaper.

{mosads}South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Trav Robertson told the newspaper that the party has sent Sims a cease-and-desist letter and confirmed he destroyed the misappropriated data.

“We take this matter very seriously, and that is why we immediately worked with the DNC to disable this employee’s access” to the database, Robertson said. “It is critical that the Steyer campaign take immediate action regarding their employee.”

The campaign has placed Sims on administrative leave, according to Steyer spokesman Alberto Lammers, while the state party has banned him from the voter file and all party systems, according to DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa.

The Steyer campaign has said it does not have the data and that they reached out to party officials to proactively notify them the data had been inadvertently downloaded. Both the DNC and the state party deny the campaign’s version of events.

Lammers initially said Sims had “acted quickly to alert the appropriate people to rectify the matter,” suggesting he downloaded it inadvertently. Hinojosa, however, said Sims had downloaded the data three minutes after notifying the party he had it.

“We are talking about 180 seconds in a system that is notoriously inaccurate,” Lammers countered. “And the DNC is not disputing the key fact that our employee proactively approached them to inform them of the matter. The bottom line is that nothing would have taken place if the DNC had been more diligent about the security of voter data.”

Sims previously served as the South Carolina Democratic Party’s voter file manager and had access to each campaign’s proprietary data. Robertson said no other campaign’s data were compromised.

“Our organizers and volunteers work incredibly hard, and as this story notes, our campaign ‘has built a particularly extensive field organizing operation in South Carolina.,” tweeted Harris campaign spokesman Ian Sams. “It’s unfortunate anyone would try to steal that work from our team.”



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