But Friday afternoon, the Sanders campaign went on offense against the DNC, claiming that it had vastly overreacted by shutting off the campaign’s access to the voter file -- including information that Sanders’s team had amassed itself.
Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, held a defiant news conference in Washington, where he claimed the DNC was actively undermining Sanders’s campaign, and then Sanders filed a federal lawsuit. (It was resolved -- at least for the time being -- early Saturday morning.)
Sanders’s supporters responded to the dispute by opening their wallets. By the end of the day Friday, the campaign had collected more than $1 million, the vast majority of it over the Internet, according to the person close to the campaign, who requested anonymity to more freely discuss a number that Sanders has not announced.
The campaign said it did not send out any solicitations Friday directly asking for money, although an email was blasted to supporters urging them to sign a petition protesting the DNC’s punishment. That email contained a “donate” button at the bottom that allowed supporters to make contributions.
“In essence, the Democratic Establishment is effectively shutting down our ability to access the information we need for field campaigns and volunteer activities just six weeks before the Iowa caucuses,” Weaver wrote in the email asking supporters to sign the petition. “And they haven’t told us when they will turn in back on.”
Several allied groups, including the progressive organization Democracy for America, also rallied to support the Sanders campaign on Friday, a factor that Sanders’s aides say also helped create the uptick in donations.
Sanders has relied on small contributions from a vast array of donors to stay competitive in the money chase.
As of Sept. 30, the last campaign finance reporting deadline, Clinton had raised more money overall than Sanders -- $77.5 million to $41.5 million -- but Sanders claimed more individual donors.
Clinton, Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley were set to hold a debate here, in the nation's first primary state, on Saturday night.