The Sanders campaign’s access to voter data through NGP VAN has been been suspended after at least four campaign accounts accessed private data from the Clinton campaign. The data was briefly available after a glitch in the system took down the firewall between generally available data and the private information gathered by individual campaigns.
The Democratic National Committee has told the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont that it was suspending its access to its voter database after a software error enabled at least one of his staff members to review Hillary Clinton’s private campaign data.
The decision by the party committee is a major blow to Mr. Sanders’s campaign. The database includes information from voters across the nation and is used by campaigns to set strategy, especially in the early voting states.
The breach occurred after a software problem at the technology company NGP VAN, which gives campaigns access to the voter data. The problem inadvertently made proprietary voter data of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign visible to others, according to party committee officials.
The Sanders campaign said that it had fired a staff member who breached Mrs. Clinton’s data. But according to three people with direct knowledge of the breach, there were four user accounts associated with the Sanders campaign that ran searches while the security of Mrs. Clinton’s data was compromised.
The Sanders response? “The vendor made us do it.” Uh, that’s not a good excuse.
In a statement, Mr. Sanders’s campaign spokesman, Michael Briggs, blamed the vendor for continuing to “make serious errors.”
“On more than one occasion, the vendor has dropped the firewall between the data of different Democratic campaigns,” he said. “Our campaign months ago alerted the D.N.C. to the fact that campaign data was being made available to other campaigns. At that time our campaign did not run to the media, relying instead on assurances from the vendor.”
“Unfortunately, yesterday, the vendor once again dropped the firewall between the campaigns for some data,” Mr. Briggs said. “After discussion with the D.N.C., it became clear that one of our staffers accessed some modeling data from another campaign. That behavior is unacceptable and that staffer was immediately fired.”
He added that the errors had also “made our records vulnerable.” Despite repeated requests, the Sanders campaign did not provide information about the other user accounts that were involved.
Time for Plan B, Bern. Plan A really sucked. Per the Washington Post, you’re not getting your VAN access back until you come clean.
The DNC has told the Sanders campaign that it will not be allowed access to the data again until it provides an explanation as well as assurances that all Clinton data has been destroyed.