Bernie Sanders' Supporters File Lawsuit Claiming the DNC Gave Clinton Unfair Advantage

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 14, 2016

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Bernie SandersOver 100 Bernie Sanders supporters have filed a lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and its Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz, alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty. The lawsuit alleges that, despite its claims of neutrality, the DNC has been biased in favor of Hillary Clinton, devoting its resources to supporting Clinton above all other candidates.

Lawsuit Claims DNC Gave Clinton Unfair Advantage

The suit claims that Wasserman Schultz was favorably disposed to Hillary Clinton, giving Clinton an unfair advantage over Sanders. Additionally, it claims that Wasserman Schultz and the DNC “knowingly made false statements and omissions” that undermined the 2016 Democratic primary process. The suit argues that the DNC is governed by its Charter and Bylaws which expressly obligate it to maintain neutrality toward the candidates seeking that party’s nomination for President during the nomination process.

The lawsuit cites documents that were recently released by a hacker identified as “Guccifer 2.0.” Guccifer 2.0 published a “Dossier on Hillary Clinton from the DNC,” which included a cache of documents devoted to Hillary Clinton and how to protect her from political attacks. The leaked documents also contained a 281-page document on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. 

The documents that were hacked purportedly show that the DNC had been unfair in its treatment of the Democratic presidential candidates, by assuming that Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic Party’s nominee as far back as May 2015. A DNC Memo from May 26, 2015 suggesting “strategy for positioning and public messaging around the 2016 Republican presidential field” states that “Our goals in the coming months will be to frame the Republican field and the eventual nominee early and to provide a contrast between the GOP field and HRC.”

Wasserman Schultz Accused of Impeding Sanders’ Campaign

Wasserman Schultz has been the Chairperson of the DNC since 2011. She has also served as the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 23rd congressional district and was previously a representative for Florida’s 20th district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bernie Sanders supporters have accused Wasserman Schultz of scheduling debates between Clinton and Sanders on the weekend to insulate Clinton, blocking Sanders’ campaign from accessing the Democratic Party voter database, and “throwing shade” at Sanders’ campaign. 

This perceived partiality towards Clinton has led to negative press for Wasserman Schultz, with some prominent figures in the media calling for her resignation. As stated by Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC, “This has been very poorly handled from the start. It has been unfair, and they haven’t taken him seriously, and it starts, quite frankly, with the person that we just heard speaking [Wasserman Schultz]. It just does … She should step down. She should step down.”

The suit was filed in United States District Court Southern District of Florida on behalf of all people and entities who contributed to the DNC, to those who contributed to the Bernie Sanders campaign, and all members of the Democratic party. It seeks declaratory and injunctive relief enjoining defendants’ violation of the Charter and Bylaws of the Democratic party, and monetary damages exceeding $5 million.


(Photo Credit: “Bernie Sanders for President” by Phil Roeder is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.)

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