Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign sued the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Friday evening, alleging a breach of contract.
The suit was the latest and most explosive development in a dust-up involving the DNC and the party’s top two presidential candidates. It stemmed from a security breach Wednesday when a bug allowed Sanders staffers to access data belonging to the campaign of rival Hillary Clinton.
The Sanders campaign reached a deal with the DNC regarding the lawsuit shortly before they were scheduled to appear before a judge at 11:00 p.m. ET Friday, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver confirmed to NBC News. The DNC "capitulated," Weaver said, and will restore access to voter file as soon as tomorrow.
Documents obtained and reviewed by NBC News appear to show that at least four individuals affiliated with the Sanders campaign conducted searches and saved the Clinton campaign’s lists of potential voters over a period of more than 40 minutes.
In a direct response, Clinton’s campaign held a conference call with reporters to discuss the security breach and what it called “disturbing revelations” about the way the Sanders campaign accessed and handled their “sensitive” campaign information.
“Our data was stolen,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said plainly, calling the data “taken” a “strategic roadmap” for their entire operation in key early states. Mook also called the act a potential crime.
The Sanders campaign fired its top data staffer, but not three others apparently involved in the breach, and the DNC barred the campaign from accessing the database until key questions can be resolved. The Sanders campaign responded by accusing the DNC, which plays the referee in presidential primaries, of favoring Clinton’s campaign.
In the suit, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., the campaign alleges that the DNC’s move violates an agreement signed by the committee and the candidates on data usage, and says it is “hamstrung” without access to voter data.
The campaign was forced to essentially freeze all field operations, and claimed a financial toll in lost donations facilitated by use of the voter file.
“The financial damage caused by the loss of donations is estimated to be approximately $600,000.00 per day. However the damage to the Campaign’s political viability, as a result of being unable to communicate with constituents and voters, is far more severe, and incapable of measurement,” the lawsuit states.
Read more at MSNBC.