January 23rd, 2008
02:37 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama campaign registers formal complaint over Nevada

(CNN) – Barack Obama's campaign has filed a formal complaint with the Nevada Democratic Party Wednesday over allegations of irregularities in Saturday’s caucuses in that state – “violations” they blame on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“I am writing to request that the Nevada State Democratic Party conduct an inquiry into an apparent and disturbing pattern of incidents reported at precinct locations throughout the state during the January 19 Caucus," the Obama campaign’s general counsel, Bob Bauer, said in a letter to State Party Chairwoman Jill Derby.

The complaint includes material Bauer claims was sent out by the Clinton campaign that includes the line: "It's not illegal unless they tell you so."

"This certainly suggests that, for the Clinton campaign, the operative standard was, simply and only, what it could get away with," Bauer wrote.

In his letter, Bauer says the campaign has received reports of more than 1,600 complaints, including reports of voter obstruction and early door closings, many of which came in through a special hotline set up by the campaign.

He said the Obama camp is not challenging the Nevada outcome, but is requesting an official inquiry into campaign tactics by Clinton supporters in the state.

The Clinton campaign has also complained of alleged voter intimidation by Obama allies during Saturday’s Nevada vote.

“The reality is that the Sen. Obama's allies engaged in intimidation and strong-arm tactics against our supporters at their workplaces and at caucus sites. And they ran outrageous, false and offensive ads against Sen. Clinton,” Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer said in response to Bauer’s complaint.

“Sen. Obama lost and now his campaign is acting out.”

Hillary Clinton won the Nevada caucuses, though Barack Obama captured more delegates.

Obama complaint (pdf)

UPDATE: Clinton campaign counsel Lyn Utrecht sent Derby a letter late Wednesday detailing a long list of allegations against Obama supporters in Nevada, including "systematic corruption" of the state's caucus procedures and "voter suppression and intimidation."

"This letter is not intended as a response to the Obama campaign's letter," wrote Utrecht. "However, in the interest of a complete record" the Clinton campaign "wishes to bring to your attention information we have received evidencing a premeditated and systematic corruption of the party's caucus procedures."

It also states that the Clinton campaign supports an inquiry into events surrounding Saturday's vote.

Clinton letter (pdf)

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
soundoff (491 Responses)
  1. Mike

    I am also sickened by Hillary and her never ending dirty political tricks. If she is the Democratic nominee, I am voting republican. She does not need to be in the White House with Bill. If she can't control him now, how is she going to possibly control him when she is president? You can't have 2 presidents and that's exactly what you're getting with the Cintons. I hope Barack gets the nomination or Michael Bloomberg runs as an independent.

    January 24, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Christina from TN

    Lord help us all if Obama wins...he is destroying our party already! He doesn't even care!

    January 24, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. LiLi

    He has a right to request that the allegations be investigated. Period. It doesn't matter if he lost or not, what matters is that this type of alleged conduct does not happen again. Obama's camp made some allegations of misconduct and now, as usual she has made the same type of allegations, in order to make it look as if this type of conduct happened on both sides and Obama should just live with it and to make him look like a sore loser. This just goes to show that if an injustice happens to our fellow Americans and their rights are violated, she will not be the first person to address it. She will wait until someone else puts it out there and makes it an issue before she takes a stand. If she had been that concerned with the conduct reported back to her campaign, why didn't she address formally, to protect her suppporters that didn't get to vote and that have the right? Obama wouldn't have taken this chance if he truly didn't believe that our Americans that have the right to vote were treated unfairly, because that is the kind of person he is. He doesn't care about whether this will make him look like a sore loser. It is about the injustice that occurred to our people and fellow Amercicans. It's about the people to him. Doesn't that make you feel good? We're not in Iraq, there should not be obstruction of voting in this country. Think about the real issue at hand!

    January 24, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Franklin

    Obama get a life. Stop whining and playing the victim card.
    Everyone acknowledges the fact that you`re favoured by most media outlets...is this another attempt to gain more favour.
    I do not intend to fuel the race debate any further but as a self proclaim unifier you ought to know better rather than playing the victim card you should accept defeat and move on as a noble states man

    January 24, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Chris

    There is one thing that should come out of this argument...

    CAUCUSING IS FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED

    Primaries have got to be the only way to go, and it seems to me like the whole caucusing system is antiquated and open to distortion, quite frankly a travesty of democratic procedure.

    Especially when there is the possibility for blatant conflict of interest, especially when it comes to precinct chairs.

    The Democratic Party doesn't need irregularities and bickering but one cant help but think that such things are inevitable when a political party continues to rely on such pathetic techniques.

    Ask yourself, would this be deemed acceptable in a general election?

    January 24, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Yvesu

    now we know where Rove went–he's working for hillary. it's politics as usual! we are SO SICK of it. thanks obama, for at least showing us what integrity looks like.

    January 24, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. Sharon

    I will never vote for the Clintons again in this lifetime. They really show how beastly they can be and it finally makes sense why they are still together. I am so ashamed for having blindly given my votes to them in prior years. Ignorance is bliss, but now the illusion has worn off. I see their true colors. This campaign is a disgrace and all due to Bill and Hill. After this, I would prefer not voting than to vote for them. Consider me an Independent after this hot mess. The Clintons will no longer take this Black person's vote for granted.

    While I am writing, I would like some of the Churches that I once respected to know that I understand now why your congregation is so huge. You are not looking at the big picture. You can actually learn a little something from the movie, 'First Sunday'. Take the message out of that movie and maybe you can see yourself as the Deacon in the movie. There is no way; you could have endorsed Hillary especially the way the Clintons have behaved.

    Obviously, you have no IDEA what Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and so many others stood for. Did you even see Roots? Have you been to Africa? Some of you are the Toms spoken about in books past and I am sure laughed about at dinner tables today.

    January 24, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. Rekha

    YOU GO HILLARY. YOU ARE THE QUINTESSENTIAL LADY. YOU PRAISED OBAMA AND GAVE HIM DUE CREDIT. OBAMA ON THE OTHER HAND HAS NOT SAID ONE COMPLIMENTARY THING ABOUT YOU.
    TED KENNEDY TOM DASCHLE AND JAMES CLYBURN YOU NEED TO TELL OBAMA " OBAMA STOP THE DRAMA"
    THE NEVADA VOTES ARE A NON-ISSUE UNTIL THE FINAL VOTES FROM THE NATIIONAL DELEGATES ARE COUNTED.
    HELLO! THERE ARE MORE THAN 2000 DELEGATES !!!
    HILLARY SPEAKS WITH LUCIDITY ABOUT THE ECONOMY, HEALTH INSURANCE, SOCIAL SECURITY AND CHILDREN – EDUCATION GIVING CHAPTER AND VERSE TO HER PROPOSALS.
    HILLARY IS THE UNIFIER
    OBAMA MR. DRAMA IS THE GREAT DIVIDER.
    WHEN HILLARY SAID AT THE DEBATE THEY WERE JUST 'GETTING WARMED UP" IT WAS AN UNDERSTATEMENT.
    WAIT UNTIL THE REPUBLICANS GET THEIR TALONS INTO MR. CRY BABY.
    THEY WILL HAUL HIM OVER THE PROVERBIAL COALS.

    January 24, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. tom

    Obama needs to get over it. He lost and his whining is just going to covince the rest of the nation to line up behind Hillary.

    January 24, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. had-enuf

    To those of you who think Obama is whining, then you truly don't understand where he is coming from. It's not whining just because he is insisting on fairness! I feel that all the CLINTONS want is Power. Hillary is acts like a republican to me. I know in Barack's mind, he'd probably like to tell the Clinton's where to go and he'd probably like to send them, but because he is reserved and he's a thinker, he must be observant of all around him, because of him being Black. I am voting for Barack because I believe he wants to unify everyone. He may not have all the answers, but he will listen to OUR ideas. Hillary just wants to be a huge political figure, and Barack wants to be in a position that can bring change to our country and possible rebuild ties with our enemies. We need someone of a calming nature to help resolve the mess that the Republicans have put on America.

    January 24, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. Franklin

    Hillary has shown great resilience under fire (media + NH) so far Obama lacks that.

    January 24, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. angry

    i hate this squabbling. it's hurting the party. i'm already thinking about becoming republican & i never thought that would happen.

    January 24, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. tommoro41

    this type of action by the clintons should not be surprizing they r good at decieving and misleading the american people Iam a registerd republican but this time i will vote democrate because OBAMA represents a fresh start and not some of the same lieing polititions weve had in the past and i want to encurrage all HISPANICS to do the same

    January 24, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. Stephen

    I don't think I can ever vote for either of these LOSERS!!!

    January 24, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. Gina

    I'm so-oooo sick of hearing about Obama, and this is just the primary election. He's been getting a free ride from day one. I just don't see the appeal in electing a man who expects to be treated so delicately. It's easy to say "that's not true" when you've made sure your entire political career was as vague as possible. Way to go not really standing for anything Obama.

    Hope is not an issue.

    January 24, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  16. Geff

    I would like every Democrat to think for a moment and try to remember the last candidate running to be president who said "I am not a Washington insider and I an a uniter" that was George Bush. George Bush is the greatest divider and now Obama is saying the same thing. Watch out for these so called uniters. Vote for Hillary who is a true leader.

    January 24, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. Jermaine

    Hilliary Clinton is the best qualified candidate among the democrats. I'm so sick of people talking about Bill Clinton need to "chill" or tone it down. He have every right to campaign and fight for his wife just like Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Edwards fight for their husbands. Hilliary won the state of Nevada. The man just got in the Senate anyway, why is he even running for president. This country is in a bad fix and we don't have time for on the site training. The Obama campaign keep hollering "Change," but his voting record is almost identical to that of Hilliary Clinton. Let's make a smart choice in 2008 and vote Hilliary Clinton. I respect Senator Obama and I believe he is a great family man and citizen, however, it's just not his time. Perhaps after Hilliary eight years he will run and become the 45th President.

    Clinton For President '08'

    January 24, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. flash367

    ARE WE IN A KINDERGARDEN?

    January 24, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  19. Anthony Phillip

    OBAMA!!!!!!!OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!OBAMA!!!!!!BARRACK!!!!BARRACK!!!!!BARRACK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 24, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  20. Ratgurl

    I'm very disturbed by many of the comments posted in here. While there are way too many for me to read them all, many of them appear to be from campaigners for Ms. Clinton. Perhaps I'm just reading a little too much into them, and if I am, anyone is free to correct me, but "Smart Democrat," "Don," "D-MT," "Nash," "Louis," Victor@NJ," "Vote4Hillary" (obviously), "mycomment," Demfan," "Eeeeer!?," & "Trever" to name but a few each sound like they're doing a stump job for Hillary. Isn't this the place for public opinion? Keep the campaigning on the road where it's meant to be, and let us "little people" opine and banter about serious, thought-provoking concepts so that we may make educated and informed decisions when the time comes.

    And moderators, please quit picking and choosing which comments to post. Unless they are profane, please post them all.

    January 24, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  21. TWC

    This isn't about Senator Obama feeling backed into a corner or about whining! Clinton people were asked to do things that not only affected the outcome, but also challenged the integrity of the entire caucus process. Regardless of the outcome, these tactics patronize voters and we should be angry about anyone who tries to undermine or influence the process.

    I have talked face to face with an Obama staffer that worked in the Las Vegas area. She gave a shocking testament to what happened there. Not only were doors shut and padlocked early, but Obama supporters (voters) were sent on wild goose chases across town that took so long, they could not get back to their caucus location on time.

    Say what you will these claims, but this is no different than fixing or cheating in a sporting event! If someone does not step in and insure that the rules of the caucuses are enforced, then no value can be attributed to their results.

    The Clintons are proven liars and deceivers and I fully believe these allegations are true. Stand up for integrity..!!! Don't vote for Hillary..!!!

    January 24, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. Heather Peterson

    We all were disappointed when John Kerry didn't stand up to false accusations...now that Obama has the backbone to stand up to wrong-doing we're calling him a whiner? It makes him look presidential to stand up to the dirty Clintons.

    January 24, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  23. Ann

    What a sore loser.

    January 24, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  24. Ardnuas

    I want our democratic party to be united to beat the republicans, Hilliary can't do it... She is full of anger over the way she and Bill were treated by the republicans, she wants to be president to even the score. Barack is the only person to unite the democrats, republicans, and independents. Do we really think anything will be different with the Clintons back in the White House ? Are we that stupid ?

    January 24, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. Jon

    Obama is a cry baby and a sore loser. What ever happened to the politics of change.

    Thank goodness his national political career will be over within a month.

    January 24, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
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