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. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Jason, you are right, thank you for the best comment. Adams, I agree with you, Obama is inexperienced and naive. eva, I will do the same thing. My comment, you are smart, I support Hillary, she is the best leader for our Country, Hillary is the only person can save our Country from this mess.

    January 23, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  2. Hop - Democrat

    If Clinton wins the Dem Nomination...McCAIN '08!!!

    January 23, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  3. Will

    What a whiner! A mere 1,600 complaints of voter obstruction and early door closings? Hardly worth mentioning. How dare anyone challenge Hillary's inevitability. I guess expecting fair voting tactics when your opponents are Bill & Hillary IS a "fairy tale."

    January 23, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  4. Ann, MO

    This is great! Bill Clinton thinks that he can go infront of any camera a spew lies and the people will believe anything he says. I do believe he has met someone that not only will not take it, but will actually fight what he says with the truth. I would say in the adult world that Obama knows how to handle the Clinton's, and is willing to go to court to prove just how these people operate. Maybe it is time for Bill and Hillary to start talking issues again, instead of trying to trample on someone that had tried to run a decent, honest campaign.

    January 23, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  5. Anti Clintons

    Oh the Clintons haven't done anything wrong! you morons that think they pure as snow are out of your minds. The Clinton creeps have been doing this crap for years and when someone else calls them out on it, then you fools call Obama the loser, man you lib freaks are stupid!

    I hope Obama kicks her fat butt all over the place the witch and the womanizer, go ahead and vote for them, then you will get what you deserve!

    Obama 08!

    January 23, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. Diane T

    I listened to a CNN panel right after the dem debate earlier this week. I really could not believe the female panelist. She said that African-Americans would vote race over gender.....now is this interesting? So race IS an issue in the black community. Which we all pretty much knew. I also find it interesting that blacks can have all kind of race specific organizations, like the "Black Caucus", but if whites joined similar white-only organizations, we would be called RACISTS! Something seems very wrong with that picture.

    The other thing is, I cannot figure out why the African-Americans are jumping on the bandwagon and supporting Obama because of race--Excuse me but Obama is half white! Or is this just more politically expedient to identify as a black man??????

    Also how insulting that he rarely or never mentions the mother and grandparents that raised him–BOTH WHITE! Would the blacks be supporting him if he looked more white?

    January 23, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  7. aisha

    obama campaign ,it took them a week to come with those allegations . they were busy making false accusations ,creating paid for witnesses, and i thought they were celebrating after navada because they won more delegates anyway ,so what happened now ,they r doing this only to divert attention from them to clintons .obama knows he is going to loose after feb 5th so he trying every possible stunt he can to bring hillary down .well keep trying

    January 23, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  8. aisha

    he did not whine and cry when 3rd party was running ads against hillary in nevada,he did not cry when oprah endorsed him and raised 3 million dollars for him ,and by admitting he did drugs what kinda example is that for other young african american men.and now he is loosing so he is crying go cry more

    January 23, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  9. C. Marie

    Obama has opened a door that will slam in his face. The fact is the both he and Clinton have some sometimes overzealous supporters. To try and paint a picture that his people don't have dirty hands will only go to making his "above the politics" approach to this elections look more hypocritical.

    January 23, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  10. Ann, MO

    How many people that voted for Al Gore in the 2000 election were angry with the outcome and felt that the people had been denied by the underhanded ways that the vote was counted, (or not counted) in Florida? Now these same people are calling Barack Obama a "crybaby" because he is having complaints investigated?

    January 23, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  11. sharon

    Americans, Open your eyes wide and think with your head!!!! When Oprah came out for the first time to support a preidential candidate, it was Obama. Nobody said anything. But when Bill Clinton stated supporting his wife, it became a problem. Obama won Iowa, everyone gave up hope on Hillary but when she started winning, there was a lot of winning and crying everywhere. What make me sick is this race card south carolina is playing! But guess what, it will favor hillary at the end. What everyone supposed to think about is, with all the economic and war mess going on, who has the experience and capability to solve these problems? Go Hillaryyyyyy 2008

    January 23, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. Bill, Covington,LA

    All this suff is hillarious, the voters know, the world knows, that the clintons are the scum of the earth and still there are those that would vote for them. Then when they are elected and don't live up to expectations, blame it all on president Bush and 9/11

    January 23, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  13. e

    Why is everyone letting the media hype you up. The news isn't there to inform up anymore it is there to "entertain" us. It is a business about what sells and if there isn't conflict they will take something and flame it up to get the ratings. All this race stuff is being flamed by the media not the canidates especially not the Obama camp. I was in Vegas and the whole thing was nothing but a big disorganized mess and if the Clinton camp exploited that it should be investigated, if voters were strong armed by the culinary union it should be investigated. Some of you anti Obama people need to grow up and stop calling him a crybaby. If he does something he is a baby if he does nothing he is a wimp we know we know nothing he does will ever be good enough for you. Clinton haters we know we know they are evil. How about instead of infintile name calling we actually look at their records while in the Senate, what kind of work they did before they were in public service, etc. Lets stop being distracted from the issues and stop the stupid negativity, it makes me loose faith in the American people and then we do deserve whatever we get even if that is Huckabee(shudders)

    January 23, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  14. Matt

    The Obama campaign is pathetic. I always knew the "politics of hope" was nothing but bull...a soundbite.

    I just made a contribution to the Clinton campaign.

    January 23, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  15. Nathan

    Reading both complaints, Obama's seems better documented. He counted the number of complaints and included quotes. Most damaging, he points out instructions to Clinton voters. "It's not illegal unless they tell you so".

    The Clinton complaint had comparable claims but provides more generalized evidence. It's also lacking any overall instruction from higher up in the campaign to procede.

    I'll be curious to see what comes out of this, if anything.

    January 23, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  16. NN,NY

    Good for you, Senator Obama! We need to be sure that EVERY vote counts and secure! If things went wrong they should be corrected in a civil way.

    President Clinton: no screaming, bullying and accusations in front of the camera! Be civil. After all, you were our President. Behave! The whole world is looking at you! Don't loose it, PLEASE

    January 23, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  17. Robin

    Actually, both campaigns have filed formal complaints. CNN, please report all the facts. I read this on AOLnews.com. Often I have to go to other websites to get balanced reports.

    January 23, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  18. David from Texas

    I would rather vote for my dog than either of these two. I am a Democrat and am considering becoming an Independent. I am so sick of this junk. I expect more of my party than this. It is both sides (Obama & Clinton) pushing these issues that amount to nothing-but helping the Republicans to win. Obama or Clinton should be the better person and rise above this for the sake of the party. I would vote for the one that would take a stand against this childish back and forth. My mother always told me that it takes a bigger man to walk away than to stand there and argue like fool. This isn't even politics-this is high school bickering. We are going to end up with 4 more years of Republican scandals and wars. We all should press for our candidates to rise above this for the sake of our party. Obama can ignore Clinton and say I am sticking to the issues and Clinton can ignore Obama and say the American people are worth more than this. The Democrat party has always been the party of hope for everyone-lets keep it that way my fellow Democrats. We are all family in the end.

    January 23, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  19. bc

    Obama is just trying to throw any kind of dirt he can think of – he knows the media will never call him on it, no matter what he says. And if the media report his allegations as true, he figures people will believe them. And some will. But the reality is that people can see him in the debates and enough will see who he actually is, so the myth he has artfully created simply won't last. And those who don't watch debates do watch TV, and Senator Clinton won't let the b.s. go unchallenged. And even if he cons enough people to get the nomination, which I really doubt he can, the Republicans will destroy him by breakfast and then wonder why they didn't need to wait until lunch.

    When all this started, I thought I'd vote for him in eight years, thinking he'd be ready by then. But what I've seen of his character is enough to ensure that I won't ever vote for him – never been fond of empty suits, and most especially empty suits with poor character. Seems to me his ill-advised run in 2008 has not only cost him his chance this year but also his chance in future years.

    January 23, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  20. Lori, Woodland CA

    Another Obama maneuver that makes him look like a chronic complainer and whiner. Who is advising this guy? Whoever it is, he or she isn't doing him any favors. I think he's pulling another dangerous stunt. If he's this big of a sore loser now, imagine how he'll be after the backlash kicks in on Super Tuesday.

    January 23, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  21. Helena


    January 23, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  22. mr.fair tax


    January 23, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  23. Tom Wittmann

    I wonder: is the Democratic party leadership not concerned by the literally humdreds of comments filed in the blogs (not included the censured by CNN) saying

    "if Hillary wins the nomination, I vote Republican"
    "if Obama wins, I vote Republican"
    "this debate will force me, life-long Democrat, to vote Republican
    " and so on !!


    In the blogs reagrding Republicans, I only see a very few such type of statements !

    January 23, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  24. Angelina

    It is very sad the it is coming down to the clintons using old and dirty tricks, however, this is what they know and what they want to bring to the white house. Remember "I did not have sex..."remember many other lies and made up things, remember I have 35 years of experience.

    I recently got an email stating that if I vote for Hillary Clinton I would get a credit card. I went to her official website to request that her campaign focus on the issues and halt the disrespecful statments flying everywhere. What did I get? I got a thank you note 'thanks for your Support for Hillary for President," and within a few dates of that email I got a credit card approval from some card company ...........

    I just think this is getting very strange. I am very discusted at the negative statments and attacks, by both Bill and Hill and it just takes us all back to old days of politics.
    why can she run alone? why can Bill just step aside and realize his time is over, let others participate?why can they be civil and respectful of all the runners? and also why not be truthful about why they are running for this office?

    I am very saddened by this "politics as usual," way of conducting campaigns in this country.

    January 23, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  25. Chris

    How come the media isn't making a bigger deal about this? Election fraud seems like a much more important story than that stupid clip of Bill they showed 80,000 times today.

    January 23, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
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