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. James M, Tacoma WA

    I have friends who were vollunteering in Nevada and saw this happen. Because of this, Hillary Clinton wil NEVER have my vote.

    January 23, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  2. John

    Quit whining Sen.Obama!

    January 23, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  3. brian

    Where are you getting your information? That's the problem half the people on these blogs, you say things don't back anything up. Google is your friend if you use it. The New Hampshire recount is still going on and guess what? all the candidates are loosing votes due to HUMAN error. Not the machines, as was initially insinuated. Look it up and get informed.

    All these insinuations without proof is really pathetic.

    James charlotte nc
    January 23, 2008 4:27 pm ET

    Yea Obama's a crybaby…right. Clinton supporters, do you realize that right after Clinton lost 7.5 of her votes in Nashua, NH's recount, the recount was suddenly stopped because of 'funds' today? I don't believe that and I say to Obama to keep fighting to get the truth out!

    January 23, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  4. WW - New York

    I believe that as a current leader (even if not elected) should bring issues like this to light. I don't think anyone in the Senate should turn a blind eye to a serious issue like this. I understand there's Clinton supporter out there. However, if this is true and you vote for her, you cannot say your voting on issues or what's best for America.

    If Obama didn't bring this issue to light he would take the heat for it! This is a very serious issue that concerns me!

    January 23, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  5. brian


    Thank you. I knew I couldn't be the only person who knew how to use a computer in this day and age.

    For all Obama supporter out there, maybe you can explain to us not so smart people why when the Clinton campaign complained about this issue before the Nevada caucaus you said it wasn't true and the Clintons where making it up to get votes, but now that Obama lost Nevada it's true.

    I notice that Clinton supporters state facts with documentation of where to look things up, but Obama supports don't offer the same.
    Oh, that's right, their candidate doesn't know anything of what he's saying either.
    Voted NO on a credit card inerest rate freeze of 30% because it was to high. How ridiculous is that.

    For all you college student's out there maybe you could ask him why he didn't vote for a bill that would lower college student loans? That came up last July 07, He was a NV (no vote). surprise..surprise

    January 23, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  6. me

    CNN, it's not surprising you can't face the truth. My comments are clear. Your support for Obama is evident. I don’t watch CNN anymore. I changed to FOX News.
    You're a lousy example of a news channel. I don’t care if you post this or not. You folks think you can control the election by playing the race card. Yes, you CNN. It back-fired in your face. I'm African American, and smart enough to vote for the candidate of my choice and not have to depend on you.

    All my posts have been about the truth. You can decide not to post them, but there are other site I will post them. The truth must be told.

    By the way, I saved all my posts.

    You disgust me CNN. Good knowing you, but you are dismissed.

    January 23, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  7. Carol from Missouri

    Obama is in a no-win situation. If he doesn't respond to the Clintons' distorted charges he looks weak and/or guilty. If he does respond they criticize him for ignoring the issues and being argumentative.

    I will refuse to vote for Clinton (both of them) since I remember the politics of Clinton's White House years. Like many others I know, I am tired of political dynasties! I believe we need an intelligent and articulate president who can craft a vision and bring people together to enact it. Someone who is NOT a political operative!

    Hillary is trying to run on her experience as First Lady with a failed health initiative and no security clearance. Would anyone have voted for Laura or Barbara Bush or Jackie Kennedy with their experience as First Ladies? The only "experience" she brings with her is Bill who is anxiously waiting to hit the road running on day 1. Disgusting! I fear America's voters will either give up on Obama or stay home and we will either end up with Billary or, heaven forbid, 4 or 8 more years of some/any Republican!

    Count me for Obama!!!

    January 23, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  8. Bridget

    The "Clinton Empire" is the same as the "Bush Administration"!!!!!!

    Earlier Mr. Cafferty mentioned that false statements are "Lies"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The "Clinton Empire" is not for the American People!!!!!!!

    The "Clinton Empire" is for the "Corporate Raiders" whom send jobs out of the United States of America!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  9. Mike Mize

    In a presidential electional that is the democrats to lose; these two (Hillary & Bill) will cause the democrats to lose it. Let's hope Bloomberg gets in!

    January 23, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  10. Janice


    Sorry to tell you, but those Hispanics will be competing directly against you for jobs. I don't see any African-Americans or Hispanics complaining. So guess what? It must be the white males running scared.

    This continued hype about the Hispanics growing at such a fast rate doesn't frighten African -Americans, because at the end of the day, people of color will be the new majority!!!

    January 23, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  11. Pattie

    Now Obama and Clinton you both need to square off and go back to your corners and run a clean race. If that is possible in politics. I am a democrat. We need to take gender and race out of the Presidential race because it has no business being there. I am looking for change what can You Guys Do for me If your elected President.
    I need health care, increased student loans, creation of jobs, stop the outsourcing of jobs, give employers tax encentive for staying in the USA.
    We need an FDR now more than ever.
    Whos is going to be the FDR for us now?
    Step up to the plate because republicans are willing to vote for the person who can be the next FDR.

    January 23, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  12. Pattie

    Keep those republicans out of office look what Bush did
    Hasn't everybody had enough by now
    there are more home foreclosures than ever.
    real estate agents only sell foreclosures now
    America has become a 3rd world country
    Bush is to busy sending money everywhere else and there are more people in this country dying from hunger and lack of health care
    we need to get on the stick we need an FDR that created programs during the recession (i.e. jobs for the unempoyed)

    OPRAH we are not out here beating the path for Martin Luther King because yes he was a great man
    we don't need race in this presidential race nor gender..............

    January 23, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  13. Janice

    If you go to Daily Kos site you can find a picture of an acutal ballot that had been already marked for Shrillary, and given to an Obama supporter who had to mark through her name, to vote for Obama. Observers said that this occured throughout the day.

    Many, Many first-hand accounts there of voter intimidation and Rove-like tactics.


    January 23, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  14. Jack

    Obama, needs to focus on himself and leave the Clinton's along. John Edward, is responsiable far Hillary returning to SC on Thursday, by running his lip. After two on the trail she will win SC.

    January 24, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  15. john

    Well if obama wins i will vote REUPLICAN

    January 24, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  16. john

    Well if obama wins i will vote REPUPLICAN

    January 24, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  17. Joe

    John Edwards is a Gentleman, people.

    January 24, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  18. Janice

    If you really want to read very positive information about Obama, go to dailykos.com and read some of the positive diaries that you'll never find in the slime MSM.

    On this site alone, I find that Hillary Clinton gets more favorable coverage. The media always feels that it can tell us who should be elected. However, this is a democracy. What I'm referring to here is when you google cnnpolitics.com you go to a page where Hillary Clinton's name is at the top of the page with a link to top 100 stories about her. I could not even do a search and find Obama's. This is totally biased on CNNs part. There is also an ad of the upcoming debates on the 30th and 31st of this month, and guess who CNN has as the representative of the democratic debate? Shrillary, of course.

    Boycott these slime excuses of media and go to another source!!

    January 24, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  19. Cheryl

    I'm surprised the Clinton camp didn't file charges sooner. Bill made three seperate claims of voter intimidation. I suspect it was all just lies in case she happen to do poorly. They didn't file a formal complaint with a governing agency, they only filed a follow-up complaint.

    I will NEVER believe anything they say again. I will never respect Hillary or Bill. To much deception, manipulation, bull-dog tactics, etc. I cannot wait until the Repubs. get ahold of her. I am so gald they showed us their true colors; thereby giving me plenty of time to pull my support for her. They are shameless. And I will delight in voting for the Repub. come Nov. if she is the Dem. nominee.

    January 24, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  20. connie floyd, crockett,texas

    someone needs to tell obama to tone it down. someone needs to tell ted kennedy an emanuel to tell obama to tone it down.

    January 24, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  21. Peter Oriavwote

    Senator Obama should display political maturity. Stop crying wolf. Did Hillary complain about the caucus results in Iowa where you won? No. That is maturity.

    January 24, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  22. SuJay

    I hope the Nevada investigation into voter suppression exposes Bill Clinton to be the LIAR that he is.

    January 24, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  23. Louie

    I am an American citizen living in Norway and have been watching the U.S. go from being a very respected country to one that George Bush has managed to almost destroy. The deficit stands at over 9 trillion dollars, the dollar is worthless, and people are losing their jobs and homes. What we need is a president who can turn these things around. When Bill Clinton took office he was able to turn a deficit into a surplus which has been wasted on a needless war without finding any WMD ,the dollar was over 9 kroner and now it is down to 5.5 kroner and the economy was good. Hillary is the best qualified candidate and speaker running for president. Give Hillary this opportunity to make the changes the U.S. needs now and vote for Obama when he has more experience after her. With the help of Bill I am sure that they can make the U.S. a respected country it once was.

    January 24, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  24. Glen, Boston, MA

    First New Hampshire's questionable election – now this.

    Obama has my vote. We've had enough stolen elections over the past 8 years.

    It's time to clean house. Experienced or not, it is time to clean this corrupt house out – women and children first.

    January 24, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  25. Marg

    Obama does not seem to have the character to react with dignity when
    he loses. He also seems to be so egotistical that he cannot take justified

    January 24, 2008 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
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