Bernie Sanders loses access to crucial voter data after aide is caught prying …
Sanders Campaign Fires Data Director After Breach of Clinton Files.
Bernie Sanders was having one of the best days of his presidential campaign Thursday as he racked up two key endorsements and announced that he’d passed a major fundraising milestone. It’s being widely reported that the Democratic National Committee has suspended Bernie Sanders’ access to its voter data after a software snafu allegedly allowed a Sanders staffer to view the Hillary Clinton campaign’s own proprietary data. The lockout will continue indefinitely as the Sanders campaign works on explaining the breach to the DNC, in what could be nuisance for canvassers this weekend and a more damaging blow if it lasts more than a few days, with the February 1 Iowa caucus quickly approaching. That fired staffer has now told CNN that he did not attempt to take Clinton data and was merely trying to determine how badly the Sanders camp’s data had been compromised by the fallen firewall.
Uretsky did not respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment but did offer a defense when reached by CNN on Friday morning. “We knew there was a security breach in the data, and we were just trying to understand it and what was happening,” he said. “To the best of my knowledge, nobody took anything that would have given the (Sanders) campaign any benefit.” Uretsky was fired at the end of the day Thursday, hours after Sanders got his largest union endorsement yet, from the Communications Workers of America, as well as the backing of liberal group Democracy for America. Briggs said the blame lies with NGP VAN’s system. “Sadly, the vendor who runs the DNC’s voter file program continues to make serious errors,” he said, noting the campaign had alerted the DNC to problems months ago.
NGP VAN’s CEO, Stu Trevelyan, said the breach, first reported by the Washington Post, was an “isolated incident” after it released new code on Wednesday that contained a bug. The bug allowed users who already had access to voters’ files to search by and view—though not export, save, or act on—attributes added to those files by other campaigns.
After the firm identified the bug, it began an audit and determined that “only one campaign took actions that could possibly have led to it retaining data to which it should not have had access,” Trevelyan said in a statement. His firm, he added, played no role in suspending the Sanders campaign’s access to data and contractually could not do so. “Moving forward, we are adding to our safeguards around these issues,” he said.
The DNC has asked NGP VAN to conduct an analysis to identify users who accessed other campaigns’ data and the actions they took, and to conduct a full audit of its system as well and to begin a review process with all the campaigns and staffers use it. “The DNC places a high priority on maintaining the security of our system and protecting the data on it,” communications director Luis Miranda said. “We are working with our campaigns and the vendor to have full clarity on the extent of the breach, ensure that this isolated incident does not happen again, and to enable our campaigns to continue engaging voters on the issues that matter most to them and their families.” But, based on what we know at this point about what happened, preventing the Sanders camp from accessing voter data for any meaningful length of time is not tenable. Let’s hope it does so. * TRUMP-MENTUM RAGES ON…AND ON…AND ON: A new Morning Consult poll finds that Donald Trump continues to hold a large lead among GOP primary voters: He has 36 percent; Ben Carson has 12 percent; Ted Cruz has 11 percent; and Marco Rubio has nine percent.
Those findings are almost identical to what they were before Tuesday’s debate, suggesting that the Las Vegas showdown may not have done much to change the basic dynamics giving Trump his large lead. Sanders’s support among white voters has helped make him competitive in those first two overwhelmingly white states, but his mixed support among African American and Hispanic voters, who make up a larger portion of the electorate in states with later contests, creates a substantial obstacle for him to overcome.
Thus, if Clinton can win Iowa, offsetting a Sanders win in New Hampshire, she’ll be well positioned for the more diverse electorates in the contests that follow. * HILLARY IS OUT-HUSTLING SANDERS: Politico determines that Bernie Sanders has spent the equivalent of three weeks less time campaigning and fundraising since late September than Hillary Clinton has: The Vermont senator has visited nine fewer states than Clinton…His schedule from Sept. 28 through Saturday night’s debate — 84 days in total — has included 34 days campaigning or fundraising outside of Washington or his home state, including 10 in New Hampshire and nine in Iowa. It isn’t every day that a lawmaker-turned-candidate allows his day job to interfere with his electoral ambitions! * HILLARY STRUGGLING WITH MILLENNIALS: CNN reports that the Clinton camp is well aware that she faces a big and important challenge in energizing young voters to the degree that Obama was able to do in 2008 and 2012: Clinton aides are still confident that despite the polling that shows their boss trailing with young voters, she will be able to win them over by speaking directly to issues that they care about, namely college affordability, social issues and women’s rights.
As I’ve reported, Democrats should probably be thinking now about the threat Marco Rubio in particular could pose to their edge among young voters — an advantage that Dems are betting the party’s future on, and one they shouldn’t take for granted. * WAIT, THERE’S A DEM DEBATE ON SATURDAY?
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