Oh Look, There’s a Coding Hole, Let’s Exploit It!

427Critics may be crying foul, creating petitions and blaming the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for suspending access to the Democratic “Voter Access Network” database, but it was the Bernie Sanders campaign that exploited some apparent coding hole that allowed them to access confidential voter information gathered by their rival, the Hillary Clinton campaign.

From the Washington Post:

“The DNC maintains the master list and rents it to national and state campaigns, which then add their own, proprietary information gathered by field workers and volunteers. Firewalls are supposed to prevent campaigns from viewing data gathered by their rivals.

NGP VAN, the vendor that handles the master file, said the incident occurred Wednesday while a patch was being applied to the software. The process briefly opened a window into proprietary information from other campaigns, said the company’s chief, Stu Trevelyan. He said a full audit will be conducted.”

The DNC has reportedly told the Sanders campaign that it will not be allowed access to the data again until it provides an explanation for how the breach occurred as well as assurances that all Clinton data has been destroyed.

Meanwhile, Bernie supporters started a MoveOn.org petition online denegrating DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for suspending the campaign’s access and demanding they reinstate access to the database.  Afterall, “it’s not their fault that the DNC hired a contractor that left them a hole they could exploit” to gain an advantage against a rival candidate.  Really?

I’m sorry, but what the Bernie campaign just did is the equivalent of hacking.  I guarantee you that if it had been the reverse, if it had been the Hillary campaign accused of exploiting information gathered by the Bernie campaign, the GOP would join the Bernie campaign in demanding that Hillary step down from the race in disgrace.  It is NEVER okay to cheat, plain and simple.  Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver can claim all day long that they didn’t print it or download it, but those are specific terms.  Did they take screen shots (that’s not downloading)?  Did they create video of a screen scroll using a cell phone (that’s not downloading)?

Frank Bruni the New York Times went so far as to write:   “It smacks of special treatment, and Clinton, who set up her own home-brewed email account as secretary of state, can’t afford to keep giving voters the impression that normal rules don’t apply to her.”

Excuse me?!?!  Normal rules don’t apply to “Clinton”?  It’s not the Clinton campaign hacking her rival’s campaign data.  It’s not Hillary Clinton who is demanding special treatment.  It’s the Bernie Sanders campaign demanding that bad behavior is perfectly acceptable. It was the Sanders campaign that accessed ‘confidential’ Hillary Clinton campaign data.  How will they now use that information to enhance their chances?  Why do they apparently feel it was okay to do so and have NO REMORSE for having accessed that data?

Calling for the DNC to immediately restore access to the Sanders campaign is the equivalent demanding that an identity hacker be given complete and immediate full access to all of your identity information.  Sorry, but I disagree.  The Sanders campaign needs to provide an explanation for how the breach occurred and the full extent of information accessed. Only when any problem coding is expeditiously fixed should access be restored. Thus, the faster they fess up, the faster this mess can get fixed.

Meet the New DNC Leadership

On Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee announced new officers elected during the DNC Winter Meeting in Washington, DC. Maria Elena Durazo and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard were elected to serve as vice chairs, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was elected to serve as Secretary, and Henry R. Muñoz III was elected to serve as DNC National Finance Chair. These officers will serve alongside the following officers who will continue serving in their current roles: Donna Brazile – Vice Chair, Voter Registration and Participation; Mayor RT Rybak—Vice Chair; Raymond Buckley, Vice Chair; and Andrew Tobias, Treasurer. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was reelected to serve another term as chair.

At the meeting, DNC members also honored the service of outgoing Secretary Alice Germond, Jane Stetson, who served as National Finance Chair, and Congressman Mike Honda and Linda Chavez-Thompson, who both served as vice chairs.

“I am excited to serve alongside my fellow DNC officers as we continue the critical work of rebuilding our great nation under the leadership of President Barack Obama, and forging a stronger and more vibrant Democratic Party,” said DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “We are all committed to electing fair-minded leaders across the country who will support an agenda that continues to move this country forward. Together, we will keep building the country we’ve been fighting for – a country where all things remain possible, and where the American Dream is truly within reach for everyone, not just a lucky few.”

Biographical information on the DNC officers is below:

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz – Chair
As the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz works every day to advance President Obama’s agenda and to elect Democratic candidates across the country. First elected to Congress in 2004, Rep. Wasserman Schultz has been a tireless advocate for Democratic values. Prior to becoming chair, Rep. Wasserman Schultz was DNC vice chair.

Mayor RT Rybak – Vice Chair
RT Rybak was re-elected to serve as Vice Chair of the DNC. Mayor Rybak was elected mayor of Minneapolis in 2001 in his first run for public office and was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2005 and 2009. He was the first mayor of a large U.S. city to endorse President Obama’s presidential campaign in early 2007. He is a strong voice for mayors within the party, and an incredible surrogate for the President and Democrats.

Maria Elena Durazo – Vice Chair
Maria Elena Durazo will serve as Vice Chair of the DNC. The Democratic Party is the party that truly fights for America’s working families. Maria’s years of service as Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, and her work as Chair of the National AFL-CIO Immigration Committee, reaffirm our party’s steadfast commitment to American workers as we work toward immigration reform and the establishment of a path to citizenship to undocumented workers. In this role at the DNC, she will strengthen the already powerful bond between the DNC and our brothers and sisters in labor.

Donna Brazile – Vice Chair, Voter Registration and Participation
Donna Brazile was re-elected to serve as Vice Chair of the DNC. Ms. Brazile is an adjunct professor, author, a syndicated columnist, and a political contributor. Prior to serving as Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation, Ms. Brazile dedicated herself to strengthening the American democratic process as chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Voting Rights Institute, established in 2001 to help protect and promote the rights of all American citizens to participate in the electoral process.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard – Vice Chair
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard will also serve as Vice Chair. Congresswoman Gabbard is the first American Samoan and Hindu member of Congress, and along with our colleague Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, she is also one of the first female combat veterans to serve in Congress. Her story is an inspiration, and her dedication to public service showcases the best of our party’s values.

Raymond Buckley – Vice Chair
Raymond Buckley will serve as Vice Chair of the DNC. Raymond Buckley was elected President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs on January 21, 2009. He has worked for numerous local, state and national campaigns, in addition to serving eight terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. He is the first openly gay politician to serve in that position. Pursuant to DNC Bylaws, Mr. Buckley serves by virtue of being elected Chair of ASDC.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake – Secretary
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will serve as Secretary of the DNC. Mayor Rawlings-Blake was the youngest person ever elected to Baltimore’s City Council. She has made Baltimore a stronger city through her focus on improving public safety and education and strengthening city neighborhoods. Her leadership will help move our party forward and advance our longstanding commitment to education.

Henry R. Muñoz III – National Finance Committee Chair
Henry R. Muñoz III will serve as National Finance Chair. As Chairman of the Board and Chief Creative Officer of Muñoz & Company, he leads one of the largest and oldest minority-owned design practices in the country. As National Co-Chairman of The Futuro Fund, he helped to facilitate a critical dialogue between the Latino community and the President’s re-election campaign. Ensuring that Democrats have the resources to fight for our shared values is a critical role the DNC plays, and Henry has both the experience and the tenacity to help Democrats win all across the country and at every level of government.

Andrew Tobias – Treasurer
Andrew Tobias will serve as Treasurer of the DNC, continuing a role he has filled since 1999. Tobias was born and raised in New York, has written three New York Times best-sellers, and received the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, Harvard Magazine’s 1998 Smith-Weld Prize, and the Consumer Federation of America Media Service Award.

Our own Nevada Rural Democratic Caucus will be electing officers to serve our caucus members at our March meeting.  Again, if you’re interested in serving in any capacity, please submit your “self-nomination form” by no later than February 15, 2013.

It’s Time to Write Your Editor

Melanie Roussell, National Press Secretary
Democratic National Committee 

I wanted to make sure you heard the good news: Recently, the Obama administration announced that employers will soon be required to cover contraception for women with no co-pay or deductible.

This new law will cut costs for millions of Americans and improve women’s health.

But Mitt Romney’s campaign called it an “attack on religious liberty,” an attempt to “impose a secular vision on Americans,” and even started a petition on their website asking supporters to fight back.

Mitt’s so-called proof is that although churches that mainly employ and serve members of their own faith will be exempt, the new law will apply to religious-affiliated organizations, like universities and hospitals, that serve the general public — and women of all faiths.

This rule was crafted with respect for religious beliefs — just as no woman will be forced to buy or use contraception, these new rules mean that no doctor will be forced to prescribe it. The goal is to make sure that all women who want to use contraception have access to it — and Mitt calls that a “violation” of “religious principles.”

As a Democrat and a woman, I’m asking you to voice your support for the Obama administration’s decision to put women’s health over politics.

A powerful way to do that is by writing a letter to the editor. Letters to the editor allow your opinion to be heard by thousands of people, and can inspire other women to stand up and join you. Our tool makes it incredibly easy to do.

Click here to write a letter to the editor in support of women’s health and this decision.

The real kicker behind Mitt’s petition is that as governor of Massachusetts, he signed a health law that maintained a contraception requirement very similar to the new federal rule. That makes his claim that it now infringes on religious liberty dubious at best, and pandering at worst.

Remember, Mitt’s the same guy who was a big supporter of stem cell research — until he changed his mind. The same man who went from being proudly pro-choice to so anti-choice that he’s said he would have supported a so-called ‘personhood’ amendment for Massachusetts, which, like the one rejected in Mississippi, would have banned abortion even in the cases of rape or incest, and common forms of birth control like the Pill.

His real stance when it comes to religious liberty and women’s health is whatever will get him the most votes at the right time.

As a point of contrast, here’s what some folks have said about the President’s decision on contraception coverage. The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health spoke out in support of him not exempting religious organizations: “We applaud President Obama’s decision to reject an enormous and harmful expansion that would have denied coverage for birth control for millions of women.”

An editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote about the decision’s regard for religious freedom, saying the ruling “carefully balanced respect for this tradition with concern for equity and public health.”

Now it’s your turn. Your stories and reasons for supporting this decision will be amplified much further than a politician like Mitt Romney’s attempt to weigh in.

Make your voice heard in supporting the President’s decision by writing a letter to the editor today: