The Democratic National Committee has restored presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' access to voter data, which had been suspended following an alleged data breach by his campaign staff to access Hillary Clinton's data. Sanders had filed a lawsuit against the DNC, but later also apologized to Clinton.
At the ABC presidential primary debate in New Hampshire Saturday night, Sanders was asked about the data breach, and he admitted his staff failed to act properly although it was primarily the fault of the software company.
"Not only do I apologize to Secretary Clinton – and I hope we can work together on an independent investigation from day one – I want to apologize to my supporters. This is not the type of campaign that we run," Sanders said, according to The Washington Post.
On Friday, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement: "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 Sanders campaign has agreed to fully cooperate with the continuing DNC investigation of this breach."
Earlier Friday, the Sanders campaign had filed a breach of contract lawsuit in a Washington, D.C. court against the DNC, according to Reuters. The lawsuit argued that the blocking of access could lead to a loss of about $600,000 a day in donations.
Due to a software issue in DNC files, the data allowed the Sanders campaign to see proprietary data from Hillary Clinton's campaign. The national voter file carries information about millions of Democrats, including their voter history. Audits of the NGP VAN program revealed that four accounts linked to Sanders tried to save the Clinton data within the system for as many as 24 times, according to the Time magazine.
"We are glad that all parties are moving forward, and that the candidates and the party can refocus on engaging voters on the issues that matter to them: building on the President's legacy of creating jobs, growing the economy, and a robust discussion on how we can keep Americans safe," the DNC added in the statement.
The Sanders campaign also welcomed the move.
"We are extremely pleased that the DNC has reversed its outrageous decision to take Sen. Sanders' data," Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said in a statement. "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."
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon made a similar statement.
"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. We believe this audit should proceed immediately, and, pending its findings, we expect further disciplinary action to be taken as appropriate," Fallon said.