Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, accused in a class-action lawsuit of rigging the 2016 Democratic primary in favor of Hillary Clinton, was cleared of fraud in a Miami federal court last week.
But not before confirming what was already widely suspected: that the DNC did indeed rig the primary.
Wasserman Schultz, former Democratic National Committee chair, became embroiled in a political scandal during last year's U.S. presidential election after a DNC email hack revealed her criticisms of Clinton's Democratic rival Bernie Sanders -- which Sanders' supporters said was conduct that goes against the DNC's official neutrality in primary contests.
The complaint, which involved 150 Democrats, accused Wasserman Schultz and the DNC of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence in the alleged election fix.
More than half of the plaintiffs were Sanders supporters who gave money to his campaign. The suit claimed the plaintiffs are entitled to punitive damages in addition to refunds for the money they contributed in good faith.
Federal Judge William Zloch dismissed the suit brought by the plaintiffs' two Miami lawyers, Jared and Elizabeth Beck.
However, the DNC’s attorneys never bothered refuting the lawsuit’s claim that the primary process was biased against Sanders.
Instead, they argued the DNC has a right to conduct primaries however it chooses, and, furthermore, that Sanders supporters knew the primaries were rigged, therefore relieving the DNC of any responsibility it might have had.
This, from the New York Observer: “DNC attorneys claim Article V, Section 4 of the DNC Charter -- stipulating that the DNC chair and their staff must ensure neutrality in the Democratic presidential primaries -- is “a discretionary rule that it didn’t need to adopt to begin with.” Based on this assumption, DNC attorneys asserted that the court cannot interpret, claim, or rule on anything associated with whether the DNC remains neutral in their presidential primaries.”
“The Court would have to find that people who fervently supported Bernie Sanders and who purportedly didn’t know that this favoritism was going on would have not given to Mr. Sanders, to Senator Sanders, if they had known that there was this purported favoritism.”
Zloch confirmed this in his judgment: "The Court must now decide whether Plaintiffs have suffered a concrete injury particularized to them, or one certainly impending, that is traceable to the DNC and its former chair's conduct -- the keys to entering federal court. The Court holds that they have not, which means the truth of their claims cannot be tested in this Court."
Elizabeth Beck told Florida Bulldog that confirmation from Russian hackers' released documents convinced her and her husband to go ahead with the lawsuit: “'The lawsuit was filed based on that information. Everyone, including the people who hired us, reached the same conclusion that the process was rigged.'”
Beck also launched a Facebook page that has grown to more than 57,000 followers and started the political action committee JamPAC, Florida Bulldog wrote. She has been using JamPAC’s website to post lawsuit updates and documents.
Sunshine State News was unable to reach Wasserman Schultz over the weekend.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith