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A blow to Bernie Sanders's campaign: losing access to the DNC's voter files

Sanders's campaign had access to Hillary Clinton's data.
Sanders's campaign had access to Hillary Clinton's data.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders's campaign just suffered a serious blow. Sanders can no longer access the Democratic National Committee's database of registered voters, after a glitch allowed the campaign to download data from rival Hillary Clinton.

This is a big setback, if the DNC doesn't restore Sanders's access quickly. The voter list is crucial for organizing voters in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses, where votes take place in less than six weeks.

Sanders's campaign manager accused the DNC of sabotaging his campaign on purpose, and the campaign threatened to sue:

The Sanders staffers were allowed access to Clinton's data in the first place due to a software error, the Washington Post reported. Four of them looked at Clinton's data, three at the direction of their boss, Josh Uretsky, who was fired.

The data was only available for about 30 minutes, according to BuzzFeed. The Sanders campaign said this type of error has happened with the database vendor, NGP VAN, before.

Uretsky told CNN he was just trying to assess the extent of the damage, and to see if the same glitch had affected the Sanders campaign: "To the best of my knowledge, nobody took anything that would have given the (Sanders) campaign any benefit."

But it later emerged that the campaign did download and save data. Bloomberg's Jennifer Epstein reported:

Though the Sanders campaign initially claimed that it had not saved Clinton data, the logs show that the Vermont senator’s team created at least 24 lists during the 40-minute breach, which started at 10:40 a.m., and saved those lists to their personal folders. The Sanders searches included New Hampshire lists related to older voters, "HFA Turnout 60-100" and "HFA Support 50-100," that were conducted and saved by Uretsky. Drapkin's account searched for and saved lists including "HFA Support

The DNC has cut off access until the Sanders campaign can fully explain itself and prove it's deleted Clinton's data.