January 23rd, 2008
02:37 PM ET
15 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. Truth Squad

    Lets get to the bottom of this fiasco and be done with it people!

    January 23, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Sherry

    Man look. Knock it off! His side won the court case (he enjoyed the decision) and now he wants to cry foul. Please....if you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    January 23, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Debbie, California

    Clinton machine playing very dirty. I don't blame the Obama campaign one bit. Everyone- think we have a problem with the Bush administration? Imagine if these liars got into the White House. I am absolutely sickened by this. If Hillary is the democratic nominee, I will vote republican.

    OBAMA 2008!!!!

    January 23, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. James springfield mo

    whaa whaa.

    January 23, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Robyn

    Oh, he really is desperate and looking again like a very sore loser. Because his "rough and tumble Chicago politics" have not worked, I guess this perpetual whining and complaining about the Clintons is the only tactic he has left. Upon reading the Las Vegas Sun accounts of union intimidation, it seemed to me that charges could easily be made by Hillary against Obama's supporters. And what about that nasty radio ad calling her a "disgrace?" What do John Kerry and tom Daschle think about that?

    Unfortunately Sen. Obama has done a poor job of showing the American people why he should be president. This alone is the reason he is losing.

    January 23, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Trannon

    We don't need this right now, Obama.

    January 23, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. Trannon

    We don't need this right now, Obama.

    Stop trying to destroy the party!

    January 23, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. Thomas, NV

    I think it's important to note that Obama is not contesting the loss, but is standing up for the rights of voters in Nevada. While we didn't experience many abnormalities at our precinct, we did notice that the Clinton camp encouraged their supporters to fill out preference cards well before the doors had closed and the official total count had been conducted, which is a clear infraction on the voting process. There were several other minor infractions, but they do add up. While I don't think that they had an affect on the overall outcome of the caucus, the goal is to preserve the rights of voters at all costs, and to respect the rules of the caucus. Just because you don't agree with the caucus Hillary, does not mean that you can encourage your supporters to break the rules.

    January 23, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Greg in OH

    The fact is if Bill Clinton says there was "strong-arming" going and he saw it, why did the camera crew folllowing him around 24/7 catch it on tape? Is this not a valid question?

    Do you (as the Clinton campaign) put out there the other is going to cheat in case you are discovered to discredit the valid claims?

    January 23, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Ada

    I am glad to see the Obama campaign standing up. I like to support a fighter, not a loser. Obama will continue to receive my support, as far he make it clear that he is a fighter, and not a loser. By the way, I do not find it interesting for Obama to always come out to defend himself. Make your opponents defend themselves too. They have more scandals than you.

    January 23, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Eye Opener

    This is a sad, sad commentrary on the state of affairs of the Democratic Party. Keep dong so and we will hand the next election to the Republicans.

    January 23, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. Darren

    His whining is never going to stop. The campaign just gets longer every day. All camps are sending out garbage. Get over it.

    January 23, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. Dewey

    WOW! Hillary is outdoing even Karl "Dr. Evil" Rove these days. What won't this woman stoop to in order to win?? Any shred of decency that was left has apparently escaped the Clinton family. Is Hillary going to be saying "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" in 3 years? Or perhaps "what is the meaning of "is"?"

    January 23, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. Steve

    This is how you deal with suspected election tampering. You don't have your husband go cry to the media.

    January 23, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. Mark Cary, NC

    What a sore loser. This is pathetic. He lost. Move on!

    January 23, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. David, Gilbert Arizona

    All I can say is wow! Will it never end between these two? It's like watching two kids fight in the grade school playground. Obama has just gone and told on Hillary to the teacher.

    I'm feeling better and better about our new upcoming republican president.

    January 23, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. jake

    oh boy..it is getting really petty and childish.

    January 23, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. Taylor

    As someone who participated in the Iowa Caucus, I can tell you the exact same things that the Obama campaign is accusing the Clinton campaign of, happend with his supporters and staff members. But I caucused for Edwards so I really didn't care.

    January 23, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. Rick

    Has anybody else noticed that no matter what Obama throws at Hillary, she ends up turning it around on him ten fold?

    I thought I'd mention that because these next couple of days are not going to be pretty.

    January 23, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. Obama 08

    When will the New Hampshire recount be published?? This needs to be done before Feb 5th in my opinion.

    January 23, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. J, Ca

    This is final nail of Obama's coffin.
    Complain against his own party?
    What was he thinking?

    January 23, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. Democrat in NY

    Take on the Corrupt Clinton Machinery Obama. The whites, Blacks, Latinos, Asians et all are proud of you. You are the voice of the people of USA!

    January 23, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. bd

    As we have seen the results in NV , the Hispanic minority is increasing way faster than the African Americans. The Democratic Party’s plan to further increase the Hispanic’s voting clout by legalizing at least another 12 million will compound the problem for African Americans. Those newly legalized Hispanics will also be allowed to bring all their family members to the U.S. and will directly compete for jobs with African Americans.

    January 23, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. d

    From what I read, it was only one more delegate. Big deal. He's going to lose big time during Super Tuesday !

    January 23, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. DoM

    How do you think the Clintons won the Latino vote?

    January 23, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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