- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 19, 2015

Pressed by a lawsuit and facing a backlash from liberal activists, the Democratic National Committee said Saturday morning it was reinstating Sen. Bernard Sanders’ access to the party’s voter data files — though the DNC insisted it is still investigating his campaign’s activities.

The announcement came after a day and a half of bitter internal party warfare, with the DNC saying Mr. Sanders, who is running for the party’s presidential nomination, stole data from the files of fellow candidate Hillary Clinton, and Mr. Sanders countered that by suspending his access Democrats were showing favoritism toward Mrs. Clinton.

For her part, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign said Mr. Sanders‘ employees may have broken the law, and said voters can judge him for the whole episode.

Mr. Sanders had bought access to the party’s massive voter file, which contains information on tens of millions of voters’ party registration, voting history and any other data the DNC has been able to buy from corporate sources. The files help candidates decide whom to target with their messages.

But the DNC says Mr. Sanders‘ employees used a glitch in the system to get access to the data Mrs. Clinton had bought, and seeing what she was looking at allowed them to get a sense for her campaign strategy.

The party suspended Mr. Sanders‘ access Thursday afternoon, setting off a feverish back-and-forth that roped in the federal courts on Friday, with Mr. Sanders‘ campaign arguing its contract with the DNC required a 10-day notice before cutting it off.

Faced with that, and with growing pressure from liberal activists, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz relented — but only after she said Mr. Sanders agreed to an independent investigation to determine what had actually happened.

“The Sanders campaign has now complied with the DNC’s request to provide the information that we have requested of them. Based on this information, we are restoring the Sanders campaign’s access to the voter file, but will continue to investigate to ensure that the data that was inappropriately accessed has been deleted and is no longer in possession of the Sanders campaign,” she said in a statement early Saturday morning.

“The Sanders campaign has agreed to fully cooperate with the continuing DNC investigation of this breach. The fact that data was accessed inappropriately is completely unacceptable, and the DNC expects each campaign to operate with integrity going forward with respect to the voter file,” she said.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign said the audit of Mr. Sanders‘ activities “should proceed immediately,” and said those who were involved in purloining any data should be disciplined.

Mr. Sanders‘ campaign says it’s already fired one person and on Friday was questioning others.

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