- The Washington Times - Friday, December 18, 2015

Sen. Bernard Sanders‘ campaign accused the Democratic National Committee of “actively attempting to undermine our campaign” Friday after the DNC suspended Mr. Sanders‘ access to the party’s voter file, saying he snooped on what fellow candidate Hillary Clinton was doing.

Sanders staffers exploited a failure in the software the DNC used and accessed work from the Clinton campaign — a move Mr. Sanders‘ campaign manager called “irresponsible.” But Jeff Weaver said the DNC overreacted by suspending the campaign from all access to the voter files, and said the DNC has itself to blame for “dangerous incompetence” in allowing the poor software to be used.

The Sanders campaign, like other campaigns, pays for the use of the voter file, and Mr. Weaver said suspending access means cutting the campaign off from its own data on people it needs to reach out to in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early-voting states.

He threatened a lawsuit later Friday if the DNC doesn’t back down.

“By their action, the leadership of the Democratic National Committee is now actively attempting to undermine our campaign,” Mr. Weaver said. “This is unacceptable. Individual leaders of the DNC can support Hillary Clinton in any way they want, but they are not going to sabotage our campaign — one of the strongest grassroots campaigns in modern history.”

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, speaking on CNN, said suspending Mr. Sanders‘ access was the only fair move because he broke the terms of the access agreement.

The fight comes a day before Mr. Sanders, Mrs. Clinton and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley are scheduled to face off in the third Democratic presidential debate.

Mrs. Clinton maintains a wide lead in national polls and is ahead in Iowa, but Mr. Sanders tops her in polling in New Hampshire.

And Mr. Sanders‘ campaign claimed some momentum this week when he won the endorsement of the Communications Workers of America labor union and Democracy for America, a liberal grassroots organization born out of 2004 presidential hopeful Howard Dean’s campaign.

DFA officials blasted the DNC for the decision to cut Mr. Sanders off from the voter file, saying it signaled the national party was playing favorites in the race.

Mr. Sanders‘ campaign said it discovered problems with the voter file firewall months ago and alerted the DNC to it, and party officials said the problem would be fixed.

Instead, the firewall was dropped again, and Sanders staffers exploited it, downloading some of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign data, according to the DNC.

Mr. Weaver said the campaign has fired one staffer involved in stealing the data, and he says they are talking to other staffers to see if anyone else should be disciplined. The campaign also vowed it won’t use the purloined information.

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