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. Laure

    Both at my caucus and at another friend of mine's caucus, the lead organizer for the caucus were Hillary supporters. They both wanted to just have everyone check in, vote and go without any discussion. We were a strong group and we insisted the rules be followed. They were and through the discussion one supporter moved from the Hillary camp to ours and Obama got the win. However, in my friend's group, that was not the case, and they had no recourse. It was controlled by the Hilary camp how the caucus was run and it was not run fairly. I have heard many other complaints like this.

    I have had the utmost respect for Hillary and Bill, until now. I was undecided until they started playing dirty politics. Obama had not played these games and has had to speak out so that the allegations can be addressed. It's too bad that they are sacraficing the party due to ego.

    January 23, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. Don

    This is all a bunch of baloney. In a world of easy access and instant news, its amazing its taken a week for this story to come out. I am sorry, but if I were denied the right to vote I would be in front of the first camera( and there were many) on my phone( I-report) are on a blog. From everything I can see, thats not been the case. I think Obama is up to some dirty tricks and his true nature is starting to show. While the Hill-haters want to bash her, Obama has been using every trick in the book for his political gain. Wake up America. Hillary looks real good to me. She is strong on the issues and has concrete plans for the future. Obama is struggling, avoiding issues and uses his charm to make the Clinton's look bad. I don't think it going to work. This story is the latest attempt by the Obama campaign to knock down Hillary. It won't work.

    January 23, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  3. Stephen D./Las Vegas

    I participated in the Nevada Caucus in precinct 4347 and the people of my district deserve a round of applause for the way they conducted themselves under hectic conditions! I am a Barack Obama supporter and everyone who wanted to vote got the chance to vote but I am not surprised at Hillary and the Clinton's dirty tricks. I was a NH voter in 1992 and I've seen this all before! SD

    January 23, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  4. Mark, Chicago, IL

    Obama is so light weight... I'm surprised anyone is giving him any time. He clearly can't handle the pressure.

    January 23, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  5. Don

    I agree with Kathyj. Why are people more angry over Hillary Clinton than an administration that has allowed 4000 American's die, and probabaly more. Why are you not mad at illegal wire tapping, torture and the basic destruction of our civil liberties??? Hillary Clinton is human, she has made mistakes, but the hatred you have for her should be focused on what we have allowed our country to become over the last 7 years. Hillary Clinton will restore America to her greatness.

    January 23, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. Honest Abe

    Wow– good for Obama.

    A friend of mine called me the other day and said "Now I understand what the right-wingers saw in Clinton all during the 90s." Seriously, the Clintons are really showing some bad tendencies during this campaign; Bill should probably stop talking altogether! He's costing Hillary more votes than she is! It's beginning to look, to me and to others, that the Clintons played dirty in 1992, and they're playing even dirtier now.

    January 23, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  7. Dorian, Brentwood, Ca

    Not only does Obama take no responsibility for his voting record, he takes no responsibility when he loses a primary. Instead of looking at why the Nevada voters preferred Hillary to him, he need look no further than the tactics pulled by his campaign, his union, and his own performances at debates, meetings, and other public appearances. The comedy routine he did the night before the campaign when he mocked Hillary didn't help and neither did his whining everytime he was called down for twisting, distorting, and intentionally misleading voters about Hillary's record. If he were smart, he'd try analyzing why he lost New Hampshire, Michigan, and Nevada, and lay out a new strategy focusing on himself, his record, his goals for America, and how he intends to go about achieving them. The man spends way too much time stressing over Hillary. Voters don't want to hear anymore complaints from him about her. Geez! Just focus on yourself, Obama, if you can. You make yourself look like a weak little pantywaist when you complain, whine, and cry foul because the voters picked someone else they liked better. And, for God's sake, stop playing the race card. Your arrogance was front and center when you leaned over and condescendingly patted Edwards on the arm, saying, "And you'll get the white male vote, John."

    January 23, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. B.O.

    Obama is nothing but a hypocrite, and I'm tired of the false cry of "wolf". According to Obama, EVERYTHING said is a lie, a distortion, or disenfranchises (sp?) voters. I'm not stupid. I listen to the words of everyone, and Obama masks everything behind his words and pre-written speeches. Everytime he accuses a Clinton of distorting things, he's saying it just to make you THINK they are. It's pathetic that people have lost there ability to think for themselves and see through all of it. I HAD respect for Obama as a speaker, thought he needed more time, and knew it would be a mistake if he ran too early, and NOW I think it's was an ever worse idea than before. He is ruining his future.

    January 23, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. Shannon

    To those of you that believe we should overlook corruption and voter intimidation in the election process, you are asking us to give up on believing that all Americans have the right to vote. Not long ago in this country, Americans fought long and hard for the idea that all of us are created equal. This is serious and anyone that believes this is something for us to overlook is asking us to forget that we are all Americans. We have got to get over the idea that bullies should rule the country. Look where it has gotten us!

    January 23, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Don't be fooled by some of these posts from the Clinton supporters. Unless they are children posting all these silly comments the democratic party is in deep you know what. I did not know just how many immature so called adults made up this party. Forget this nonsense I am out of the democratic party for good. This is serious business that has been taken lightly and I don't see the humor in any of it.

    January 23, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  11. San

    I am first time D-voter, but with this game my ears and eyes learned. one might not waste time after these daycare kids. Instead, go Republican or Independent!

    January 23, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  12. sam

    buh hu...imagine how he would handle the republicans? he can't. he's not ready. clinton is the one that could win this against the republicans.

    obama will win SC because of the black vote – that won't carry an election

    this election is not about making a racial statement...yes, we are ready for a black president...just NOT NOW

    we need to win....enough already...Clinton 08

    January 23, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  13. Kenny

    I worked the Tonopah, NV caucus site and there DEFINATELY was strong arming by the Clinton campaign. Making the Obama side take down all of their signs near the door (which the signs are allowed as long as they are inside). Not to mention the CHAIR was an 80 year old Clinton supporter who tried closing the doors early because "she had a party to attend at 1pm."

    America needs to WAKE UP before it's too late and stop voting for this woman!!

    January 23, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. Kenny

    Wait, wait, wait.....All of you people saying that it's whining to investigate allegations of voter supression sure weren't saying that in 2000 or 2004 when Bush won!!!!

    January 23, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. DB

    Obama is not trying to change the outcome, but it doe look like he has proof of some of these allegations. The Clinton letter was like nu-uh it was him. The Obama letter had times and examples, while the Clinton letter did not.

    It is amazing how people just read the headline and the already know the whole story.

    January 23, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  16. Sonny Miller

    Obama, (comma) Barack "The Crock"!!! He's a flash in the pan.......

    January 23, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  17. rw

    The lad doth protest too much, me thinks.

    January 23, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  18. Democrat Forever

    Wow! Now we are going to have Obama's Truth Police. Good, its working. Spend that money. This is a campaign, and one candidate is going to hit the other hard, point out weaknesses and show their own strengths.

    January 23, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. Matthew

    I am neither an Obama or Clinton supporter, but please, read BOTH candidate's complaints. Obama supporters are alleging that voter fraud and voter suppression is a serious thing; yes, it is, but don't pretend that there isn't evidence that Obama's campaign is just as guilty as Hillary's. This is ridiculous. READ BOTH.

    January 23, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  20. Evan

    Of course, Hillary's campaign would not do anything illegal – no more than Bill Clinton would lie under oath. Yeah Yeah I know it was all about sex. Rationalize the lie. Lie Cheat Steal – Just as long as you get what you want.

    Vote for Hillary – and get what you earn 4 more years of a Republican President!

    By the way, I vote early and I vote often. Because if they haven't told me it is illegal than it isn't.

    January 23, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  21. Saundra Tucson

    Hey CNN:

    Where is my post, which was being moderated and now has disappeared. There are comments after mine which appear.

    January 23, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  22. Scott

    I'd like to see some of the evidence. Is there video footage, transcripts, eyewitness accounts, sworn statements?

    January 23, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  23. Molly

    I was there Saturday. There was some very shady stuff going on. To be frank, I was completely disgusted. This was my first look into a political election, and I did not like what I saw. The corruption was rampant, from every direction. That was not how any kind of election should happen. It needs to be looked into and dealt with. Then fixed for 2012.

    January 23, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. Nathan

    So far this is the only place I've seen this. Im wondering why it hasn't grabbed more attention.

    January 23, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  25. Me

    Let no one deceive you. I believe those who know the truth will agree with me. This anti-Clinton campaign is filled with hatred. Hillary strikes fear in the heart of every Republican candidate running for President. Hillary will defeat them all and they know this.
    Which explains why the media has joined them in an attempt to defeat Hillary. So far, their efforts has failed. All it has done is fire up Hillary supporters more than ever before. Hillary is strong and can stand toe-to-toe with any GOP candidate. They fear her greatly.

    It's time for all Hillary supporters to unite and let American know how much we love Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea.

    Bill did so much for this country.

    If you want real change, elect Hillary Rodham Clinton. She will change Washington forever.

    January 20, 2009. Be sure to watch. This will be historic.

    We love you Hillary.

    January 23, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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