The Democratic National Committee said in a statement early Saturday that it was working to restore access of crucial voter files to Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. The response came after Sanders filed a $600,000 lawsuit Friday against DNC for suspending access to the voter data, after a Sanders' campaign staffer improperly accessed data owned by rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“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,” DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in the statement.
Wasserman Schultz added that the Sanders' campaign has agreed to cooperate with the ongoing DNC investigation into the matter.
“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.
After DNC's decision, Sanders’ campaign released a statement saying that it was "extremely pleased that the DNC has reversed its outrageous decision to take Sen. Sanders’ data."
“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. Transparency at the DNC is essential. We trust they have nothing to hide,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, said in the statement.
— Gabriel Debenedetti (@gdebenedetti) December 19, 2015
Meanwhile, a copy of the lawsuit filed by Sanders' campaign with a federal court in Washington showed that a deal to use a shared computer system for voter registration and supporter data included a provision for a 10-day notice for any alterations to the access. Sanders' campaign alleged that the DNC did not give them any prior notice before cutting off the access.
Following the lawsuit, Brian Fallon, the press secretary for Hillary for America, released a statement calling for a speedy resolution.
“We hope that the court will resolve this matter tonight and the Sanders campaign has access to their voter files right away, with adequate protections of our proprietary information, which we understand could be completed in short order,” Fallon said, according to the Guardian.
Earlier on Friday, Weaver said that the freezing of voters’ list was “clearly a heavy-handed attempt to undermine this campaign.”
"It looks like they're trying to help the Clinton campaign," Weaver said, adding that the data was formed and paid for by Sanders and his supporters and that not having access to the information affected their efforts just one day ahead of a national debate. The information included phone numbers of potential supporters and volunteers.
He added that a similar data breach happened in October and the Sanders' campaign alerted the DNC immediately. According to Weaver, the campaign was “fairly confident” that their data was accessed by other campaigns in October.
Following Weaver’s comments, Wasserman Schultz told CNN that DNC was “going to try to make sure that we can get them access to their data and voter files as soon as possible.”