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. EMV

    The Clintons have been around for along time. We know their flaws, but we also know their politics and how they have push to make better changes for the American people, man, woman and child of very color. Can you honestly say the same for Obama? Only thing I have seen so far, he is good at blaming and instigating trouble for whomever stands in his way. Obama, get over it ,move on and stop these petty accusations. How did you win your senate seat? Through default, smearing your oponent? Show us what you can do, Hillary has, and she's good. We want someone who can fight for the American people, she has. What have you done? We don't need another "Rock Star" we want a politician!

    January 24, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Khwaty

    The reason Obama was terribly angry with the Nevada caucus result, he was expecting 5,000 people to caucus for him at the casino which end up in court. A lawsuit filed by teachers union against Culinary Union, Obama won the case.

    What happen during caucus, only 700 people arrived intead of 5,000 he was looking forward to give him a win. According to radio reports I've listened during caucus in Nevada, many people were not allowed to caucus because they did not pledge to caucus for Obama, some were threatened they'll lose their job if they caucus for Hillary. Many registered voters made a decision to stay at home instead of attending the caucus. This is not what MLK died for.

    January 24, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Mike

    This is almost as bad as watching my two kids fight with each other. I think they should both be sent to their rooms.
    As long as they keep this up they will only make Edwards stronger.
    And if Hillary thinks she can win she better tell Bill to shut up. Every time he opens his mouth it's an attack on Obama that doesn't look good to the public.

    But none of this really matters to me I'm voting Republican!

    January 24, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Jon

    What a sore loser. Pathetic man.

    January 24, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. Charles

    Obama is beginning to wear me out with his whining. Grow up and stop complaining only when the outcome does not please you! You have been slandering Hillary's character for months and now wants everybody to pity you when some of the heat comes back to you. Don't be such a crybaby!

    January 24, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Jim, Pennsylvania

    I wonder if Hillary looses big in S.C., she will cry out and find her voice again.

    January 24, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. Lucas, Nashville TN

    What's all this talk about Obama LOSING? We got one more delegate and still lead by two. Percentages look good on TV but delegates COUNT.

    Hillary wants to act like she supports unions and then claims they are dirty for telling their members how to vote... that's DUPLICITY at it's finest. You pay dues to a union to handle your bid'ness... including submitting you to the will of the group. That's the name of the game, people. She has no right to complain or blame that on Obama.

    She's a liar. She's divisive. She does NOT need to be President. Let's wait for a woman we'll be PROUD of.

    January 24, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. TJS

    I am glad to see that DJ also noticed that our voting is not being performed only by American citizens. All the rest seem to only be interested in what Hillary says or what Obama says. As I said the whole Nevada vote should be disregarded due to the fact that they cannot prove or will not prove that it was only registered American voters casting their votes that day. And someone ought to look into that union that allows illegal aliens to join their union. I am not anti nor pro union but I was astounded that a union would allow this. Last I knew when living south, that was one of the things the union there was against.

    January 24, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. Joann, Cranston RI

    Again, like I said before – Obama is a big Whiner; Baby; the him a pacifier and send him home. Nothing Obummer's people can come up with will turn me against the Clinton's – Nothing. This is exacly what they want. Obama wants to win this thing in any way he can and he's not so clean cut and honest; every has a skeleton or two – just check. Go Hillary

    January 24, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. Angie, CT

    This is all so crazy! What has happened to the dignity of this country? I have strongly supported Hillary Clinton, believing that Barak Obama should just wait a few more years....but if this in-fighting continues, the support for John Edwards will grow stronger. Better John Edwards than any of the Republicans in this race, but....

    January 24, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. batty

    I just got through reading all the blogs. What stands out to me is that Hillary Clintons supporters come through as bullies (name calling, using stereotypes, taking phrases out of context, propaganda) more than Obama supporters. it is not whining to ask for investigation. They sound like brats. I hope Obama will rise above the fray. I don't agree with everything he said but he was trying to defend himself against clever insinuations from Clintons. Hillary has one advantage over Obama in that she has a popular ex president (and consummate politician) for her husband who is actively campaigning for her and playing good cop/bad cop. It is not fair. One shouldn't vote on gender or race but on issues.

    January 24, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  12. Hill Farce 99 1/2

    At the start of the campaign I supported both Clinton and Obama (and others), and planned to happily support either in the final election.

    However, the Clinton's recent behavior, dirty tricks and lies have so disenchanted me that I can longer bring myself to support Hillary... ever.

    I've never voted for a Republican in my life, but if Hillary gets the nomination, I will not just be disappointed and not bother to vote... I will vote for whoever is running against her.

    ABH – ANYONE But Hillary

    January 24, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. Helen

    Did obama think he was trying out for American idol? Every day its a new conplaint. i am so sick of hearing his belly aching.GROW UP

    January 24, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. jill

    Before the Nevada caucuses, there was a report that illustrated the state's lack of preparedness for high voter turn-outs.

    Obama is a sore loser, and he can NEVER say anything specific!! He just says, "I'm different." He won the delegate count, so why didn't he have a party? He sulked it all away.

    Hillary backs up everything with clear facts. She's strong and she should win. Bill is doing what he should be: getting the job done.

    January 24, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. Indy voter

    As a Former clinton Supporter, and a current obama backer i found myself torn. for years replublicans have argued the clintons were no better than the bush's, and now i see what they have been talking about. a former president redusing himself to childish positions and a former first lady who cant do anything with a poll and a Que Card handy, getting beat in everyway and every issue reduced to Law breaking to win an election. please dont send another bush to the white house. if HRc is the dem nominee for the first time in my life i will vote republican for the presidential election. A vote for Billary is a vote for bush. Please let barrack Fix our nation.

    P.S. I am a proud serving member of the US Armed Forces, the last time the clintons were in office my fellow service members were left out to dry time and time again, benefits were cut and our military was downsized. please save our country from the clintons.

    January 24, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. Joann for Hillary!

    I live in Atlanta GA and ther are now phone calls being made against Rep.John Lewis, a black man who suppots Hillary. This phone call basicly states in regards to Lewis, how can a member of the black caucus support Hillary and not Obama. Don't be like John Lewis, support an African American, and not Hillary. This is not made up, it was on the local TV news channels. So to everyone out there, this stuff happens, and YES Obama is capable of allowing this happen. Whether knowingly or not, by any candidate it happens, so all of you quit being so quick to accuse and balme. Yes, it is being investigated in GA as well, but the damage has already begun and whomever or whatever group is responsible knows this.

    January 24, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. Donte Holmes

    so what if a complaint is filled this guy deserves to loose. He doesnt have the experience to lead on day one in the white house. If you are a democrat you should be scared that in the general election if nominated the right wing will attack Sen. Barack more so then you know. Vote Hillary Clinton.

    January 24, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. KVig

    So sad. What's up with putting Clinton signs over the other candidates' signs at caucus sites? What's with closing doors at 11:30 when they're supposed to be closed at 12:00? What's with "It's not illegal unless they tell you so...?" Shameless. Scary. I have met countless Obama staff and they're sincere, honest, real, down to earth people. I'm so disappointed in the Clintons. I thought maybe the hatred toward them was overexaggerated, but no, they really are THAT BAD! Whenever they get accused of anything they just try to turn it on the other guy. They're scary, scary people.

    January 24, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. Andrew K

    Wow, I hope this is properly investigated b/c these are some serious allegations.

    January 24, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    People, stop calling Senator Obama a sore loser! He won more delegates and specifically stated that he is not challenging Hillary's win. The win/lose element has nothing to do with anything.

    The issue is voter intimidation and fraud. Nearly every American, at this point, knows the ramifications of these political tactics. Nearly every American knows how it feels to have an election stolen from them by people who don't take the time to inform themselves and only regurgitate talking points.

    It is offensive that my fellow party members do not see the importance in investigating these allegations. If you want to talk about someone being a hypocrite, look in the mirror. How dare any Democract complain of Rove-type politics ever again if you think it's okay so long as your candidate's the one utitilizing them.

    January 24, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. JK Powell

    Some sage advice to Obama – Leave the Clinton's in the cesspool and get back to your message of hope and unity for the country.

    January 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. kristy

    Obama is not qualified for the position. What is obama Mr. Honesty? African americans are making this election about race not about the issues. Obama still cant deal with questions about his friendship with rezko. Hillary is more qualified in every aspect of the campaign. I will not vote for either. They are making a mockery out of the democratic party.

    January 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Get it Right

    He lost the votes but won the most delegates. 13-12. I think Bill and Hillary are taking a page out of Karl Rove's book but did anyone tell them fool me onces shame on you fool me twice shame on me. The American people will see through this mess and Vote for the best candidate that will focus on their issue. Whether it be Obama or HIllary.

    January 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. James, Cleveland Ohio

    I was a lifelong democrat. I am so tired of this, that's it, I hope McCain wins the Republican nomination, that way I'll have someone to vote for.

    January 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  25. Barbara

    I agree with Cynthia. How soon we forget that the Clintons, et al , have been accused of illicit transactions and out-and-out lying/misrepresentation, most of their careers in politics. Bill Clinton perjured himself, and lied under oath about his affair with a white house aide. Other people go to jail for this!!! Because he was president, he was exempt. Have his constituents forgotten this? Why has this been swept under the carpet.? Bill Clinton is pulling out all the tricks of his trade and sticking it to Obama. He's much better at stacking the deck (Slick Willie) against Obama. Obama is trying to keep on top of two people, rather than just Hillary and comes from a base of principals the Clintons never have achieved. Anything goes with them. Bill Clinton has power and he's wielding this power to get himself back into the White House. Hillary's coming along for the ride. UCK !
    From a white woman in Suburban Michigan - GO BARACK !!!!!!! This country needs you!!!! I just dread another 8 years if the Clintons succeed, enough to vote republican, which I have never done!!

    January 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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