Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) restored the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign’s access to the Democratic Party’s master voter file hours after his campaign filed a lawsuit claiming $600,000 a day in losses from the decision.

The DNC blocked the Sanders campaign’s access to the list after the DNC alleged that his staffers “improperly accessed confidential data belonging to the Clinton campaign,” as The Guardian reports below.

A copy of the lawsuit filed with a federal court in Washington showed that the agreement between Democratic candidates to use a shared computer system for voter registration and supporter data included a provision requiring campaigns to be notified of any changes in access 10 days in advance. That fact suggests DNC leaders knew they would lose the lawsuit and so chose to capitulate.

The DNC, chaired by Hillary Clinton supporter Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, has long been accused of trying to rig the Democratic primary in favor of Clinton. Just four debates were scheduled before the Feb. 1, 2016, Iowa caucuses — with three of them on weekend evenings when relatively few voters would be expected to be home to watch.

The Guardian continues:

In a statement, the [Sanders] campaign announced that the DNC “capitulated” and expressed its confidence that it would be able to return to normal by Saturday morning.

The DNC cut off its access to the all-important voter file, without which an effective presidential campaign cannot be run, on Wednesday after it was revealed that Sanders campaign staffers had improperly accessed confidential data belonging to the Clinton campaign. The staffers had been able to do so because of a glitch in the voter file during a routine software update by the vendor, NGP VAN.

The suspension of access to the voter file sparked an immediate uproar. In a Friday media conference, Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, accused the DNC of sabotage while his counterpart on the Clinton campaign, Robbie Mook, openly accused the Sanders campaign of committing theft on a conference call.

The DNC’s chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who was a national co-chair of Clinton’s 2008 campaign, said in a statement: “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.”

In contrast, Weaver said: “We are extremely pleased that the DNC has reversed its outrageous decision to take Sen. Sanders’ data. The information we provided tonight is essentially the same information we already sent them by email on Thursday.”

The Sanders operative added: “Clearly, they were very concerned about their prospects in court. Now what we need to restore confidence in the DNC’s ability to secure data is an independent audit that encompasses the DNC’s record this entire campaign.”

Continue reading here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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