In June, the hacker Guccifer 2.0 released internal Democratic National Committee (DNC) documents proving the DNC treated Hillary Clinton as their nominee before the primaries even began. Not long after these revelations came to light, the law firm Beck & Lee filed a class action lawsuit against now-former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC on behalf of Bernie Sanders supporters.
The suit includes six claims: fraud, negligent misrepresentation, deceptive conduct, monetary restitution for donors of Sanders, the DNC breaking its own fiduciary duties, and negligence for failing to protect sensitive donor information that was hacked. Beck & Lee noted the lawsuit was a way to give a voice to Sanders supporters who were silenced by the rigging of the primaries for Clinton. Attorneys Jared Beck, a Harvard Law graduate, and Elizabeth Beck, a Yale Law School graduate, have previously filed successful lawsuits against Yelp, Unilever, Korea Airlines, and fraudulent real estate investors.
The July WikiLeaks release provided further evidence that the DNC actively worked against Sanders, yet the Vermont senator’s supporters have received no recompense. The damage control used to divert from the content of these emails portrayed criticism of Clinton as a Russian conspiracy. While the mainstream media has devolved into an apparatus to funnel messaging and talking points directly from the DNC and Clinton campaign, the litigation for this class action lawsuit has been moving forward.
On August 23, an evidentiary hearing will be held in South Florida and both parties involved in the suit will have to present evidence to support their positions. The hearing was issued by the presiding judge in response to the DNC and Wasserman Schultz’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and a separate motion to buy themselves more time until September 9. “Insufficient service of process” was cited, alleging process server Shawn Lucas failed to properly serve the DNC. Lucas was filmed serving the lawsuit to the DNC headquarters in July, but was unable to provide testimony to combat the testimony of DNC staff member Rebecca Herries. Lucas was found dead on August 2 in his apartment. A cause of death has not yet been determined.
“I am employed at the Democratic National Committee (the ‘DNC’) as a special assistant to the CEO, Amy Dacey. I do not work for DNC Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and I am not authorized to accept service of process for the DNC, Ms. Dacey, or for Congresswoman Schultz, neither in her capacity as DNC Chairperson nor in her capacity as Congresswoman,” said Herries in her testimony. Dacey formally resigned in the wake of the WikiLeaks release due to evidence of her overt favoritism for Clinton being revealed in several of the uncovered emails. Beck & Lee refuted Herries’ claims in court, at which point the evidentiary hearing was set.
“The Court notes that dismissal is not appropriate at this stage of the proceedings. Accordingly, the Court construes Defendants’ Motion to Quash Service Of Process,” ruled the court on August 9. The defense—the DNC lawyers—replied in support of quashing the service of process. If they’re successful, the summons would have to be reissued, therefore prolonging the suit. Included in the defense team for the DNC is attorney Marc Elias, who was included in DNC emails released by Wikileaks in July. There, Elias was shown providing advice to DNC staff on how to cover up the money laundering scheme of the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee between the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Elias also serves as the general counsel for the Clinton campaign.
The ongoing lawsuit against the DNC and Wasserman Schultz is one of several efforts being made to challenge the impunity of the Clintons and the Democratic Party they control. One of the greatest accomplishments of Sanders’ campaign was to mobilize millions of disenfranchised voters. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s candidacy now serves as a progressive voice to organize support to the left of Clinton.
The ongoing releases from WikiLeaks injects the transparency vital for democracy into a political party which obstructs it. Although many on the progressive left have drifted toward apathy instead of hope for any meaningful reform, this lawsuit is an opportunity to put pressure on a party that will have to face its corruption sooner or later.