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The Nevada State Democratic Party (NSDP) isn’t happy with the behavior of Bernie Sanders’ supporters at Saturday’s Democratic state convention.
Counsel for the NSDP sent a letter to the cochairs of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee to lodge a formal complaint over the “conduct” of the senator’s backers as well as his campaign staff at the convention, The Washington Post reported.
“We write to alert you to what we perceive as the [Sanders] Campaign’s penchant for extra-parliamentary behavior-indeed, actual violence-in place of democratic conduct in a convention setting,” the letter says, “and furthermore what we can only describe as their encouragement of, and complicity in, a very dangerous atmosphere that ended in chaos and physical threats to fellow Democrats.”
The letter refers to the chaotic scene at the state’s convention on Saturday, where Sanders supporters, who felt that the event had been rigged against them, repeatedly disrupted the proceedings by shouting over speakers. State Sen. Pat Spearman, a Democrat, reported seeing an elderly woman hit with a bottle.
Event security ultimately could not keep the event in order and had the attendees leave the space.
While February’s caucus decided 23 of Nevada’s bound delegates, the state convention on Saturday was supposed to allocate the remaining 12.
Sanders supporters were frustrated by what they perceived to be unfair rules governing the proceedings, and demanded a recount of a voice vote which had decided that the rules would not be changed. Adding to the ire was the fact that over 50 Sanders delegates were ruled to be ineligible, largely because they were not registered as Democrats in the state by the deadline.
The state party, which also denied delegate status to some, but notably fewer, Clinton delegates, claimed in its letter that Sanders campaign officials intentionally stoked outrage over the alleged impropriety:
The most egregious instance of the Sanders Campaign inciting disruption-and yes, violence-came as the State Convention’s Credentials Committee completed its work. Adam Gillette, part of National Delegate Operations Team for the official Sanders Campaign, drafted and arranged for a member of that committee to attempt to deliver an incendiary, inaccurate, and wholly unauthorized “minority report” charging that the Credentials Committee had fraudulently denied 64 Sanders delegates their eligibility. […]
Not only did this discredit the work of the Credentials Committee-which featured five Sanders delegates and five Clinton delegates and a Sanders co-chair, and who worked all day under extremely trying conditions to be fair and diligent in their duties-it called into question the entirety of the proceedings because it indicated to an irrational minority that the proceedings had been rigged against them.
Forcing their way onto the dais to deliver this paranoid fantasy of fraud and delegate theft was clearly intended to throw the proceedings into disarray. It succeeded.
The party went on to bemoan the creation of a “narrative of fraud and dispossession, which the Sanders Campaign fomented intentionally for its own political gain.”
In the concluding paragraph of the letter, the party wrote:
We therefore formally complain to the DNC regarding these unfortunate events, and warn the body that the goal of many of these individuals, sanctioned or encouraged by the Sanders Campaign, is not party-building but something more sinister and unproductive.
The letter included an attachment of text messages sent to the state’s party chair, Roberta Lange, whose personal information the party claims was leaked by Sanders supporters.
The letter also included a link to additional text messages and voicemails sent to Lange. Messages range from exclusively expletives to accusations that Lange was paid by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“There is no excuse for what happened in Nevada, and it is incumbent upon all of us in positions of leadership to speak out,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who chairs the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement on Tuesday responding to the letter.
Sanders released a statement on Tuesday afternoon condemning the violence and denying that his campaign had a “penchant for violence.”
“It goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals,” Sanders wrote.