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. mandy

    OBAMA... Get Over It .. You WON the court case and now since you lost last Saturday's Nevada Caucaus You wanna cry Foul.... If you can't stand the political heat then may be you should drop out of the Kitchen. If you were the Democratic Nominee how do you think that you will handle all the pressure from the Republicans come the General Election.... They probably couldn't wait to get their hands on an inexperienced politican..

    January 24, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  2. crintigger

    The CLINTONS have been playing DIRTY TRICKS ever since Bill lost the governor's race in Arkansas...the dirtier the better. That's why they hired Dick Morris...to teach them more dirty tricks.

    January 24, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. CJL

    Let do the right thing, take a hard look at Nevada, but most of all do this country Justice and Vote "CHANGE-08"
    President Obama-2008

    January 24, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  4. Scott

    I have to laugh at you Americans... In my childhood and teenage years I was brought up to believe that America was the centre of the modern world. What a joke. If stuff like this happens, and it seems to have happened in 2000 as well, then your country is no better then all those other 3rd world countries rigging votes and the like. Actually worse – they have an excuse or two. Based on these comment boards I think you are a pretty pathetic bunch of people to be honest, still bound by party thinking, a win at all cost attitude and it seems like many of you have no ability to think for yourselves. No president is going to change America because the majority of American people are so divided, opinionated and full of themselves. My obvious apologies to the 1 in 10 respondants here who actually have a brain and send through a reasonable reply. Or maybe you are other international observors...

    January 24, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. PCM 01

    Mr. Obama had one more delegate than Mrs. Clinton in Nevada. He did not loose.
    The behaviour of the Clinton's group will certainly create the conditions to have another Republican government for the next 8 years.
    Yes, let's look into each allegation of wrong doing. Corruption is like a contagious flu..it spreads very rapidly if we do not do something about it.

    January 24, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. Terri Patanus

    I love it Obama is just like Bush does not like to be questioned about a thing. If you do then hell hath no fury then it becomes a black/white issue.

    He started the disagreements against Hillary and himself in the debate in MB CNN failed to mention that.
    I am just PROUD to say that Hillary stood up for herself.
    Then CNN has the gull to say Bill fought with one of their reporters, I heard the clip he was a man and said not one negative thing. A few minutes later to hear them ask Obama's wife sorry do not know her name up until last week I thought OPRAH was his wife. But ever so politely they say when we asked his wife about the tiffing that was going on they said we asked her.
    SO who is bashing who it is evident that CNN stands behind OBAMA and OPRAH I guess they want a "car" and they thing Oprah will give out the free cars and Obama will pay the taxes on it.


    He will not get my vote if he is the only choice.

    He will use color as the issue at all cost. I wonder if that would work to end the war? Think again????

    January 24, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. TB

    For all the Obama haters out there, OBAMA WON MORE DELEGATES THAN BILLARY IN NEVADA. The race is about who gets the most delegates not if they come in first or second.

    OBAMA 2008... Hillary needs to chill before Edwards take her nomination for Vice President .

    January 24, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. Michael

    Obama is a whiner and a sore loser, and there is no point denying it. As other's above have said, he WON the court case, but, lost the caucus..MOVE on.

    Also, as a side note, CNN has become so obviously biased towards Obama, that I have switched to watching MSNBC, soley, for my political news. I NEVER thought that I'd see the day that Tucker Carlson and Chris Matthews had FAIR and BALANCED broadcasts. When Pat Buchanan says that the Clinton's are getting a "raw deal" by the media, you really have to stop and take notice. He is certainly no fan of the Clintons or liberals in general!! They often side against Hillary as well, but, the don't seem to have the "Obama do or die" attitude nor do they seem to court mostly Obama supporters as guests, like CNN has chosen to.

    I wonder how much Influence Oprah has had on the medias biased coverage of Obama. She has been mysteriouslt "silent" after declaring she is supporting him. Gee, I wonder if Oprah, the multi-BILLION dollar media mogul has any influence over the media...

    Frankly, I hope Obama DOES keep filing lawsuits. It will only show that that he is a POOR leader and that he is unfit to run his flailing campaign, let alone this country!

    January 24, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. Fairminded

    If the VOTERS are complaining, which they are, there ought to be an investigation, which there will be.
    Why call someone a 'whiner' when they want fair elections?!

    And as far as the Republicans go, if you care at all for your country and the future of the world, not one of them has anything you need. Stick by the only party that will take on the important issues... don't be so affected by this back-and-forth; it's the way politics has always been, and if you go to the other side, you'll witness the same thing.

    Wait 'til you see the Republicans attack our nominee... you ain't seen nothing yet....

    January 24, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  10. Boss Tweed

    "Round and round and round we go, where we stop nobody knows." Nevada is over, but I can well imagine the Clinton campaign using any tactics to win the advantage. Same thing in South Carolina. By the time this nomination is won, it won't be worth anything at this point.

    To the DNC and all Democrats, stop this and stop it now. Obama's right to defend himself and both Clintons are helping to tear down the party. There are millions of voters who would vote for the Devil if he were on the Republican ticket against Clinton.

    Forget, all the "woe is me" nonsense. What we're getting, in case you forgot, is a reply of the Clinton soap opera "As the Stomach Churns" from the 90's. It's time to move on America, don't put us through this again. Edwards and Obama are fine candidates with the ability to get a clear mandate. With the Clintons, should they steal the nomination, we get a slim chance of a mandate and a deadlocked Congress. We can and must do better.

    January 24, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. Jerry,DENVER,CO

    The Clinton camp is a disgrace to modern politics. Her supporters are so easily duped it's shocking. No matter what Hill and Bill do, their supporters blindly follow them, no matter how unethical it may be. When Clinton wins a primary she celebrates like a high school cheerleader, then rubs it in the faces of her opponents. When Obama won Iowa his reaction was extremely modest and noble. Hillary Clinton, AND Bill Clinton are very good actors. It's a matter of time before Bill starts shedding tears to play on the emotions of the undecided. They'll do and say anything to get back the White House, even after eight years of mediocrity during Bill's reign. Barack Obama has run a respectable campaign, and he is a GENUINELY good person. History will be on his side, no matter the outcome of this election year. The Clintons will be right next to the Bushs, historically, flawed and dishonest. Vote Obama or watch America sink even lower. I for one, look forward to voting for Obama and being part of the solution, rather than adding to the nations problems. OBAMA '08!!!

    January 24, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  12. Mani from New Jersey

    I recently went to a Hillary Clinton rally because I wanted a first hand feel on who I was supporting. And I must say, I am a believer all over again. Hillary spoke on the issues that matter to everyone: healthcare, education, the economy, and improving our lives. We have to keep in mind this is an election on who can get the job done not who makes us feel good after a speech.

    January 24, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. s.b.

    What a load of horse manure! This campaign actively told Clinton supporters that they could not register to vote after Wednesday, and they could not caucus unless they supported Obama. There is not one witness who says any door was closed without letting people continue to come in. Doors were to close at 11:30 while people in line continued to register. The only campaign that tried to commit election fraud was Mr. Obama's.

    January 24, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  14. carol

    TY, thank God you understood as i did. Some pple are crazy.

    January 24, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. Trannon

    Give it up, O-loser.

    CLINTON will be a much better leader and nobody wants a victim-In -Chief who cries foul EVERY TIME he LOSES.


    January 24, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. BR-New York City

    Vote for Hillary to get the democratic nomination and when the general election comes, vote for the republican candidate or simply don't vote at all. This way the Clinton will realize that the American people don't want them in the White House and they will simply do what we all would like to see them do...and that's go away for good.

    January 24, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  17. Belgian

    This is disgusting. Everyone hoped that this campaign would be about issues, that it would be fought fairly. Nobody wants to see this mud-throwing anymore. Both camps are to blame here, everybody's at fault. Shame on the Clintons, shame on Obama.

    January 24, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  18. Southern Gal

    To Mary in NC – Obama did not lose in Nevada, He won. Primaries and caucuses are to determine delegate votes and Obama came out one vote ahead. That means he won.

    As for any election tampering – this is politics for the biggest job in the free world. Of course there's going to be foul play. It's become the accepted norm. And the people and media in our country live for it.

    I congratulate anyone (even if it was Clinton) who has the gonads to fight election fraud. It's wrong and it shouldn't be the norm.

    January 24, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. Mary

    Every voter has an equal right to have their voice heard within the pre-set voting rules. If the opportunity to vote within these guidelines is removed arbitrarily, we have been hurt as a nation. The Obama group should be commended for standing up for the integrity of the voting process.

    January 24, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. JJ

    The republicans are LOVING THIS. How can all 3 of the people running, not see that they are pushing people to the republican side. ISSUES PEOPLE ISSUES.

    Obama, growup. Maybe you'll be better at it in 4 or 8 years, not now. You can not even handle a little competition now, how would you handle the big dogs.

    Hillary, keep to facts as you've been doing. Don't cheat, you don't need to. If anyone has really seen the Clinton years, other than the republican smear taking a private concern and pushing it public AND WASTING A LOT OF OUR TAX DOLLARS, they should know that Hillary was not the typical White House wife, she didn't pick out patterns, she was Bill Clintons sounding board and adviser. Just as she was I'm sure in Arkansas. So she does have experience in that she knows more to start with.

    Edwards, I'm sorry but I don't think you stand a chance of getting the nod. You have too much against you. You're not black or female. And that seems to be what this has turned into.

    I have always voted for the person not the party but because, frankly they both have things I don't like about them. But have had more leanings to the Dems. I'm still undecided but this back and forth mess is really making me take a closer look at the other side. From what I've read, it's along with a few other people.

    January 24, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  21. Brian - Ohio

    Comparing Obama to Kennedy? What a joke! Also, if Obama can't handle a debate with two democrats, how will he be able to handle a debate with a republican? Didn't you see his answer to the 30% interest cap limitation question from Edwards? His answer (which I truly beleive he did not want to say that) was stupid. He did not notice what he was saying. It proves he can't handle the pressure of a debate when he is asked tough questions.

    January 24, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. carol

    Obama (Jan. 14, 2008): The Republican approach has played itself out. I think it’s fair to say that the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you’ve heard it all before. You look at the economic policies when they’re being debated among the presidential candidates, it’s all tax cuts. Well, we know, we’ve done that; we’ve tried it. That’s not really going to solve our energy problems, for example

    The clintons are airing an ad which says that obama said "It's fair to say that the republicans were the party of ideas for a prettychunk of time there over the last 10,15 years LEAVING OUT the portion which followed.
    People don't be fooled.

    January 24, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  23. DJ

    I am a NV voter. I can say what happened at two sites. The site I was at was total chaos. People were being registered with NO id. I don't know if this would help one candidate or the other, but it put a bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing. When the representative from the Democratic party was trying to count the Obama votes, the Clinton representative started having the Clinton people chant Hil-lar-y to drown out her count. He was very obnoxious, tried to intimidate and demean anyone who was for Obama. At the site my sister was at they ran out of cards in English and gave Spanish cards to English speaking people. What is going on in this country?

    January 24, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  24. Vicki NH

    The New Hampshire re-count is not going to make a difference. So far there have been only a few minor count errors. Clinton won New Hampshire!

    January 24, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  25. Terry

    Voter suppression and intimidation are serious topics. I sure hope there is a fair and unbaised investigation. We should not allow folks to be threatened with their jobs or retaliation if they don't cacus or vote a certain way. That's unamerican.

    January 24, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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