The Democratic National Committee has restored presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ access to its voter data, having suspended access after the DNC claimed that the Sanders campaign accessed Clinton voter data during a firewall breach, according to ABC News.
The DNC’s decision came late Friday, following a days-long imbroglio – and a federal lawsuit filed by Sanders’ campaign.
The DNC said in a statement that the Sanders campaign was providing information for an investigation following the breach, according to ABC News.
“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,” the DNC said in its statement. “The Sanders campaign has agreed to fully cooperate with the continuing DNC investigation of this breach.”
The firewall which separated the data between Clinton and Sanders was dropped by the vendor who provided access for the data to both campaigns, according to CNN.
The DNC accused “multiple staffers” in Sanders’ campaign of accessing data over an extended period of time, according to CNN. But the Sanders campaign said it had reported previous such breaches.
Josh Uretsky, Sanders’ former national data director, was fired following the DNC’s accusations, but told CNN his team only accessed the Clinton data to alert the DNC and the vendor to the fact that it was possible and that the data was not secure.
But the Clinton campaign had characterized the actions of Sanders’ campaign as theft, and said his staffers had retained the data, according to Politico.
In a statement to ABC News, the Clinton campaign said, “We are pleased that the Sanders campaign has agreed to submit to an independent audit to determine the full extent of the intrusion its staff carried out earlier this week, and also to ensure that Sanders’ voter file no longer contains any of the proprietary data that was taken from us.”
Uretsky said his team did not export any data, according to ABC News.
“To my knowledge, we did not take anything out of the system it was in and did not gain anything out of it. We saw a security breach and we tried to assess it and understand it,” he said.
“We knew that what we were doing was being recorded,” Uretsky told CNN. “We didn’t try to be sneaky at all.”
Sanders had filed suit in U.S. District Court, seeking to force the DNC to restore its access to voter data.
In absence of that access, the campaign said, it would lose thousands in donations a day.
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“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,” said Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, in a release.
“Clearly, they were very concerned about their prospects in court,” Weaver continued. “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.”
In a statement released on Saturday, the Clinton campaign also responded the DNC’s decision.
“We are pleased that the Sanders campaign has agreed to submit to an independent audit to determine the full extent of the intrusion its staff carried out earlier this week, and also to ensure that Sanders’ voter file no longer contains any of the proprietary data that was taken from us,” the statement said. “We believe this audit should proceed immediately, and, pending its findings, we expect further disciplinary action to be taken as appropriate.”
• Reporting by SANDRA SOBIERAJ-WESTFALL