Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign has been suspended from accessing the Democratic National Committee’s voter data. This is after a staffer with the Sanders campaign improperly accessed voter data belonging to the Sanders campaign.
The DNC maintains a master list of voters and their information and then allows candidates to access the data. Each campaign can add their own information, but it exists separately and cannot be seen by other candidates.
The Sanders campaign admitted that a staffer did access the Clinton data, but said that it was never downloaded or printed. However, the Sanders campaign has blamed NGP-VAN, the vendor responsible for the master list, for the breach.
“Sadly, the DNC is relying on an incompetent vendor who on more than one occasion has dropped the firewall between the various Democratic candidates’ data,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said in a statement.
Weaver also said that a staffer has been fired over the incident. A inquiry to the campaign by TKNN to see if it was the same staffer who accessed the data went unanswered as of press time.
NGP-VAN says that it was applied a patch to a glitch which caused the firewalls between the rivaling campaigns to fall. This would mean that the Sanders campaign’s data was also vulnerable.
NGP-VAN says that a full audit of their system will be conducted.
The DNC has said that the Sanders campaign must provide a full explanation of the incident and prove that any improperly accessed data has been destroyed before the suspension is lifted.
There are two major harms to the Sanders campaign. First is the perception that the Sanders campaign is playing dirty in order to gain an edge over the Clinton campaign. As Governor Chris Christie can attest, misdeeds by staffers can cause great harm to the politician in charge. The second is the loss of access. The voter list has information on millions of voters and the Sanders campaign will not have any access to it, while their competitors will. There is an increasingly decreasing amount of time left until the Iowa caucus, especially with holidays factored in. Sanders is currently second in the state.