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. winner

    obama needs to stop whining. this is no way to win against the republican. this is how kerry,tom dashel,and the rest of the losers lost.goody 2 shoes.politics is a fight for nomination or election you have to fight for it.this is how bush won and now they want to tell dems about being civil. hellow hillary keep fighting for your stand

    January 23, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. martin curavuer

    The Clintons thirst for Power is endless! Imagine them in the White House!!
    God Help, America!!

    January 23, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Maxi

    Obama, if you are really the uniter you say you are, please stop the madness. Unless you can in all honesty say that your campaign is above board at all times, which, as per Tyler above, is unlikely.

    Hillary, please stop the madness. Stick to the issues, where you have a real advantage.

    January 23, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Joe

    CNN: Could you let those of us whose postings you fail to submit know why and if it is an attempt by you to keep the topics one-sided? Why ask for comments you don't post?

    What happened in Iowa happened in Nevada. This is just more sour grapes because with even the big union endorsement Obama received in Nevada he still failed to deliver a win.

    Diane Sawyer asked Obama about Tony Rezko today and Obama quickly jumped to another subject. Are the going to file a complaint with ABC News now against Diane Sawyer?

    Why is Obama afraid of questions?

    January 23, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. Bukky

    Its stupid to say he filed a complaint because he didnt with (HE GOT MORE DELEGATE... HE WON).... tyring to make sure Hillary didnt cheat or try to cheat is what he is supposed to do.

    If she feels like she got a way with it in neveda she will try it any and everywhere else. the complaint just shines a light on it and says..."don't think we (obama's campaign) isnt paying attention.

    He went through the proper process to file a complaint because he felt there was merit. If Hillary feels they same way then she should file.


    January 23, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. A Texan

    All allegations should be investigated.
    Our democracy is at stake and ALL Americans should stand up for fairness in ALL elections, primaries, and caucuses. I believe that the Obama campaign is not being petty but they are doing what they can so that it does not happen again in the future.

    Obama '08

    January 23, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. Cindy

    Same way that the Obama machine play dirty tricks as well.
    How come Obama always right and Hillary always wrong? just get over it I'm just hoping that Obama is not elected for the same of this country and the american peoples.

    January 23, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Julie, Binghamton, NY

    Apparently these allegations deal with Hillary supporters, not her. They say that her supporters did this so Hillary made them do it. Twisting?

    First, it's the chair's responsibility to keep doors open. Second, even if they did close the doors early, that means her voters couldn't get in either- so how does this help her?

    January 23, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Truth Squad

    lets see what the parties leaders have to say about this....we might as well start policing these debates now, because the republicans are going to come at it worse than the clintons. I think this is a GOOD developement

    January 23, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. Does it Matter?

    Any update on the Dennis Kusinich recount request in New Hampshire? I heard he paid the $2,000 fee to make it happen.

    January 23, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. Ron

    I'm not sure why none of the Democratic candidates who are supporting healthcare reform are not supporting the repeal of the portion or ERISA that allows insurance companies very limited liability when they are denied benefits.

    For example, if your insurance company covers people nationally, then if you are denied care and you are injured as a result of that care, ERISA only allows damages that are based on the cost of the procedure and no punitive damages.

    Everyone should be really concerned because insurance companies can continue to get away with denying care.

    January 23, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. Mike

    If you weren't there, you can't comment. I hope they do an investigation, and tell the public the truth, whichever was wrong. Voter obstruction is serious, it cost John Kerry the presidency in Ohio, remember???

    January 23, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. lavelle Rochester,ny

    January 23, 2008 3:14 pm ET

    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.

    Look Sherry Bill stood there with his fat red face accusing Obama of doing the very same thing they were already planning and doing! It was a set up and the Clinton campaign refused to comment on what they or HE said the Obama campaign were doing. And they were also responsible for the complaint regarding the Caucus sites and now this! So now the King and Queen of Scandal can spin and sit there and look innocent?? Please there supporters are slow, naive and have short term memory. The Clintons are no better then the Bush administration, they will do anything to get into office. Plus this article was written to make Obama look bad anyway so please fall back and support your corrupt leader. If she wins everything will come to light and I hope you remain proud of your choice.

    Just because she's a woman does not mean she doesnt have a crooked bone in her body. HillBilly are only married for there agenda and thats to continue this dynasty! smarten up and wake up people we are all getting stepped on including you sherry your just naive to see it!

    January 23, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. David


    THIS IS ELECTION FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    January 23, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. Denis, NJ

    This war between Clinton and Obama is all that's happening on their campaign trail, it seems. What happened to debating the issues?

    Neither one of them can stay above the fray.

    Edwards all the way!

    January 23, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Joy Greer SC

    Hey, here’s an idea. American Gladiators is back on. Maybe these two can fight it like adults instead of spoiled little brats!

    January 23, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Benjamin

    I agree with Debbie, if Hillary is the Democratic nominee, I am voting Republican. I hope Hillary understands, without the African-American vote she is doomed. We have already began organizing heavily. So if she wins the nomination, the African-American community will respond. I suggest Bill Clinton watch what he say and do. The state of South Carolina is causing Hillary to really buckle under pressure. We have a great candidate for president.

    Barack Obama 2008

    January 23, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Trever

    The Obama whining has got to end. He is playing just as dirty. That ad on the Latino Radio Station in Nevada was just as low as anything that Hillary's campaign has done. So his complaints fall on deaf ears.

    I thought he was tougher than this. I want a candidate that can handle these kind of tactics because the national campaign for President is going to be even more difficult.

    The whining has to stop. He looks weak.

    January 23, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. lavelle Rochester,ny

    “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.


    January 23, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. FromHawaii

    I find the Clinton campaign tactics to be appalling. The concept of determining the best person to represent the country should not be based on the use of manipulation, distortion and trickery, but on honesty, integrity and capability. From what I’ve seen so far, it seems very clear that Senator Clinton uses tactics which I find to be reprehensible. Take sound bites out of contexts and playing them to mean something totally different has nothing to do with “setting the record straight”. It was very obvious that Senator Obama’s interview regarding the Republican ideas pertained to the unification of people through ideas that moved people from one party to another. My greatest concern is that the use of these tactics sometimes seems to be the “only way to win” which will cause the winner to be someone of poor ethics and character simply because they are of poor ethics and character and not the great leader that we are seeking.

    January 23, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Art H

    I think Obama and his campaign should move on. They lost Nevada, fair and square. Continuing to dwell on it, will promote the image of a sore loser.

    January 23, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. Jeff

    Is Bill running again? With the Clinon camp slash & burn tactics, one would think so! When will Hilliary break out her saxophone?

    January 23, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. Anne Amore

    If Hillary Clinton is not open-minded enough to interpret Barack Obama's comments how will she ever be able to decipher the language of foreign leaders....We will end up with another foreign policy disaster.
    The candidates have got to stay on track with the issues, plans and solutions if they want to hold the interest of the voting public.
    Someone please make them stop the bantering!!!

    January 23, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. Demfan

    I am dumbfounded by the many charges by Obama of unfair distortions of his words. My husband and I listened very closely and we heard exactly what Bill Clinton said. Obama is deliberately trying to take unfair advantage of race because he knows very well that none of the commentators are going to take the side of the Clintons(they NEVER do) over an African- American candidate.

    Actually Obama is the Eddie Haskell of the 2008 campaign; he says things like "we haven't had any new ideas in the past 15 years" and he knows very well that Bill Clinton will be defensive of the Clinton record. Then Obama comes back with the equivalent of "What- what did I say??" in fact I find his feigned innocence to be incendiary and completely unnecessary- we are supposed to be admirers of Pres. Clinton and his wonderful record. Obama seems to imply that it is not Bush, but CLINTON, that we need to change. I would be thrilled to have Bill and his policies back again-we thrived as a family under his leadership!

    The racism charge is that the commentators and pundits refuse to speak against Obama no matter what he says or does.

    January 23, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. JR

    Hey bd, I am Hispanic and YES I brought my family already, but let me tell you I am not competing for African American jobs, I am taking white american jobs, in seven years here, I am already a medical doctor, now tell me what is the excuse for those that were born here (black or whites) not to do it?

    January 23, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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