Breach, Compliance Management, Data Security, Privacy

Bernie Sanders drops DNC suit after probe confirms campaign’s claims

After an independent investigation showed that the Bernie Sanders campaign didn't pilfer voter data from Hillary Clinton after a breach in December, but confirmed information was exported during the incident, the Sanders camp withdrew a lawsuit it had filed against the Democratic National Convention (DNC) for limiting its access to voter files.

"With the investigation behind us, the campaign has withdrawn its lawsuit against the DNC today but continues to implore the DNC to address the systemic instability that remains in its voter file system," according to a release issued by the campaign. “It is imperative that the DNC make it a top priority to prevent future data security failures in the voter file system, failures that only serve as unnecessary distractions to the democratic process.”

What was called a software glitch at the technology company NGP VAN, which provides campaigns with voter data, allowed Sanders' staffers access for 40 minutes to the data of different Democratic campaigns.

The campaign initially fired its national data director, Josh Uretsky, who it said was recommended by the DNC, over the incident and then quickly suspended three other staffers.

The Vermont senator's campaign was denied access by the DNC to its own user database for a time once the breach was detected, but quickly regained access following a deal.

Even though the DNC reinstated Sanders's use of the centralized system, the presidential hopeful would not rescind the suit until he was confident about the way the DNC handled data.

The DNC indicated the results of the investigation vindicated its actions in the wake of the breach. “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,” DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda, said in a Friday 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.” 

The Sanders campaign claimed vindication as well. “Now, four months later, 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 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 release said. "During that time, the four users conducted 25 searches using proprietary Hillary for America score data across 11 states.”

The Sanders camp said, “The results of these searches were saved within the VoteBuilder system, with the exception of one instance where a user exported a statistical summary of a search using HFA scoring in New Hampshire."

Get daily email updates

SC Media's daily must-read of the most current and pressing daily news

By clicking the Subscribe button below, you agree to SC Media Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.