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. Lauren

    The Clinton campaign is acting almost as if they’re republican. Mr. Obama you will be our next President. Hold on there till November!!

    January 24, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  2. Sophie

    Can any of you explain to me how OBAMA is destroying the dem party?

    He received over 1600 complaints by his supporters of voter intimidation by Billary and is STANDING UP for them and their voices. This is a GOOD thing.

    I know you all are used to arrogant, agressive politics. Get over it. Obama will be our next pres.

    Obama 08

    January 24, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  3. Caz

    If Hillary Clinton wins the nomination I'm rebuking my affiliation with the Democratic Party and will vote Republican. I'm sick of the Clintons, I'm sick of their BUSH-like tactics and I'm ready for some change for once. Clinton Supporters make me sick. I'm tired of all this...

    January 24, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  4. Carole


    HILLARY 2008

    January 24, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  5. Samson Lim


    January 24, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  6. melody, Snohomish, wa

    it is becoming quite clear that obama can not take the heat. so he complaining about the party. when someone goes to such lenghs to complain about losing, he has something he is hiding. he refuses to discuss the issues. every debate the only thing he can do is attack hillary and bill. next he will be attacking chelsea. just by saying the words change does not mean its going to happen. he started this mess. i think it is time for howard dean to step in. he needs to put obama in his place. if he can not discuss the real issues, he should get out. go hillary!!!!!!!!

    January 24, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  7. Jim

    I think that it is right to investigate the claims. Voter supression is a serious issue, and if they are true, it shows the Clinton campaign cares too much about winning and not enough about democracy.

    January 24, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  8. Jo

    Bill and Hillary Clinton are behaving quite like the Bushes. If they have respect of themselves and the institution they have headed before, i.e. the Democratic party, they better talk the mother and father language than drag a vibrant young promising politician into the mud. The words they use will be used against them once she's nominated as Demo candidate. Play it cool....., just throw issues and not DIRTY..., you won't win like that for sure!

    January 24, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  9. Lydia

    To be perfectly honest, Billary thought the White House was in the bag...and then Iowa happened and Billary came in third. THAT shook their world and since that time they have taken the low road by spewing lies in an attempt to gain political advantage.

    Let the record speak for itself:

    Legislative Experience – Barack Obama – 8 years in the Illinois Senate and 2+ years in the U.S. Senate a total of approximately 11 years. Hillary – 7 years in the U.S. Senate. Who has more experience?

    Supporter of Civil and Human Rights – Barack Obama served the communities of Chicago where he became a community organizer working to improve conditions for people living in poor neighborhoods; practiced law as a civil rights attorney. Hillary – While Dr. King was leading a non-violent movement for social change, putting pressure on President Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Hillary was supporting the candidacy of Barry Goldwater, the same Barry Goldwater who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Ooops! So much for civil and human rights.


    January 25, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  10. Michelle

    Do we want a repeat of 2000 and 2004, when people were not allowed to vote and we got George Bush as president for 8 years? We need to take voting more serious in this country. People have died so I can have the right to vote and if someone is being denied their constitutional right to vote, it is wrong. Whether you like Obama or not, it is still the right thing to do if there is voting fraud going on. If there was voting fraud going on in Iowa, then Clintons camp should have filed a complaint. Dont file a complaint after someone filed one against you. That is petty.

    I am still trying to understand why is it wrong for Obama to talk about his race and not wrong for Clinton to talk about her gender. We all know that if one of them wins the presidency it will make history. I dont need either one of them to remind me that he is black or that she is a woman. I have eyes I can see. I just want the best person to be president.

    January 25, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  11. Thomas Henson

    Give me a break. Did hillary push you down on the playground little obama? Should we find a private insurance company to kiss it with thousand dollar bills and make it better? This is unacceptable, our presidential candidates are acting like spoiled, rude little children. Forget them both. Why is this even a news story?
    How about we get some coverage on what these two.. AND John Edwards views and policies are instead?

    January 25, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  12. WilNYC

    I love all the Republicans who now pretend they'll vote for Obama in the general election. "If Hillary gets nominated, I'll definitely vote Republican"...like you weren't planning to anyway. Obviously your preference has nothing to do with issues like the war or health care or recession or the deficit or taxpayer funded exportation of US manufacturing or no bid contracts for Republican campaign donors or third world response to natural and manmade disasters, etc.

    Obama's the GOP's only hope of retaining the White House. They know they'll rip him to shreds if he's nominated. His middle name alone is enough to lose the election.

    He's a Chicago machine politician. You don't crawl out of that sewer and smell like a rose. Do your own due diligence. He's not even fit for VP.

    He's a deliberately blank slate. Dupes can fill in the blanks however they please. His true supporters are dreamers. Witness this blog and the empty slogans.

    He had a future until his premature and sad debacle of campaign. Too bad he's impatient and impolitic. He could have been a contender.

    January 25, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  13. Harold

    The bottom line is Obama has no plans , has no platform, has nothing. He cannot debate issues because he would not know an issue if it hit him in the head. He believes that the election should be handed to him today. All Obama can do is whine.
    How come we never hear of his real estate deal in Chicago?
    Hillary is the best choice.
    Any Democrat that says they would vote republican deserves what they get from 4 more years of Bushesque mismanagement and deceipt.

    January 25, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  14. mark chicago


    January 25, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  15. Katherine

    Having read both PDF files, both parties indicate that their lawyers have names and witnesses. There may or may not be something there. In reading both responses I think that the Clinton lawyer had a much more professional presentation, but again if true facts can be ascertained then an investigation might reveal more than just a single instant and not from only one side.

    I would like, however, to offer this as thought. President Clinton knew there were things being done prior to the caucus. Is it possible, and I use the word possible, that there was a behind-the-scenes investigation being done? That, instead of making a public display out of this incident they planned to or were already conducting discrete inquiries?

    I am quite certain that neither ourselves nor the news media have any idea about what was happening officially in this regard. It is possible that these things might have been addressed quietly and with dignity. No matter what happens now, that is no longer possible.

    January 25, 2008 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  16. Ian

    People need to realize this is beyond Clinton v. Obama, this is the democratic process being bent over and screwed by the typical dirty politics that the post-Iowa Hillary has deployed. If she is the democratic nominee, we will see another 4 years of failure from presidency, regardless of who wins. Two families running the white house for (at least) 24 years is a disgrace to our forefathers. They revolted against monarchy and now America's uneducated voter is more content with putting the same people in office than actually trying to get things done. Hillary has not only received donations from people like Rupert Murdoch, but has depended on these donations. Obama has far more individuals donating than Hillary, and Edwards hasn't accepted anything from PACS or special interests. Hillary is a joke and might as well just flip America the bird for her shady tactics. Has anyone brought up the fact that all of Hillary's victories in NH came from precincts that used primarily computer voting? Hmmm...lets think...every poll shows her losing, then suddenly, she wins? Come on people. Not to mention, Hillary didn't really win Nevada, she won Vegas. She has less elected delegates than Obama. If she has only a few more delegates in the end, it will only prove that not only the electoral college destroys democracy, but our nomination process is flawed too.

    January 25, 2008 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  17. cnn is terrible

    did they really run a story entitled 'Obama and the slumlord'?
    I mean...is this as good as it gets? I mean, why do they do that? Let spinsters decide what their headlines and pieces are going to be about. It's not that they're attacking obama, because a couple of weeks ago they did so many stories about hillary crying. It's just so lame.

    that's it.

    January 25, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  18. wakeupamerica!

    Clinton and Obama should be thrown out of the party for both of their behaviors!

    atleast they should both bow out now before they destroy the country!

    Let the real leader in this campaign the one that is true to the party take his "rightful" place in this election and accept his nominee as best candidate

    so he can begin on day one!

    John Edwards 08!!!!

    January 25, 2008 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  19. Mattie

    cnn is not being fair about Hillary Clinton. cnn always holding Obama up no matter what is said about him or no matter what he says about Hillary or Bill clinton. You are wrong cnn, stop downing Hillary and Bill its not right.
    No we have not seen a formal president campain for his wife because we have never had a formal president wife to run for president. Keep it up Bill and support Hillary. It terrible that Obama don't have enough respect to appreciate a formal president like Bill Clinton who have a great record to show that time was much better when he was president. SHAME ON YOU.

    January 25, 2008 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  20. HIllarySupporter

    Obama ... you are a sore loser!

    Hillary in 'o8

    January 25, 2008 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  21. Dan

    When did going through the proper channels to investigate possible fraud become whining OR a sign of weakness? Why do we have a system if we only criticize those who utilize it? If proper legal processes are weakness, I hope for all our sakes we get this kind of "weak" quality in all our leaders; I'll take that over sneaky behind-the-scenes tactics any day of the week.

    January 25, 2008 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  22. Matt

    Mr. Obama

    Run as independent candidate for President in case Clintons win the Democratic Party nomination. You will win. If you are not Democratic Party candidate to run against republicans and you don’t run as independent then many people like us will surely vote for republican candidate.

    Hillary is un-fair, her husband Mr. Bill seems to have lost all the sense in his quest to return back to White house (as first man of the country).

    John Edward has no hope of getting nominated and is clearly eyeing the position of Vice-President as running mate of who ever gets the democratic nomination.

    January 25, 2008 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  23. Jackie

    It is so sad to see the Clinton Legacy go down in history to be the ones who use the Bush Adminstration tactics. I use to respect them so much but now even if Hilliary wins the nomination, I can not justify voting for her.

    If Obama doesn't win, I will take a strong look at a canidate from the Repulican or Independent side (provided that the NY major runs.) That is sad for me to say because I've never voted outside the Democratic party but one thing is for sure, I will not vote for the Clintons. I'll stay home first.

    January 25, 2008 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  24. Lance

    Who would you rather have? A president who is carrying on her husband's legacy for another 4 years or someone who really can inspire this nation to do great things?

    There's certainly no inspiration with the Clintons.

    Obama is the right choice.

    January 25, 2008 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  25. Dorothy Fraser

    The Nevada vote will not be crucial to the final results. Give it a rest and move on.

    January 25, 2008 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20