A year-long legal battle over the Democratic National Committee’s handling of the 2016 presidential primary came to an end Friday, with a federal judge in Florida dismissing a class-action suit brought by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “To the extent Plaintiffs wish to air their general grievances with the DNC or its candidate selection process, their redress is through the ballot box, the DNC’s internal workings, or their right of free speech — not through the judiciary,” Judge William Zloch, a Reagan appointee, wrote in his dismissal. “To the extent Plaintiffs have asserted specific causes of action grounded in specific factual allegations, it is this Court’s emphatic duty to measure Plaintiffs’ pleadings against existing legal standards. Having done so . . . the Court finds that the named Plaintiffs have not presented a case that is cognizable in federal court.”
The lawsuit, which its supporters promoted with the hashtag #DNCFraudLawsuit, grew out of the 2016 hack of the DNC that eventually led to the release of thousands of documents on the website DCLeaks. On July 28, 2016, Florida attorneys Jared and Elizabeth Beck filed a civil complaint, alleging that the hacked emails had revealed a DNC that was plotting to get Hillary Clinton through the primaries, defrauding its donors, and exposing them to harm through shoddy information security.
The DNC filed a petition to dismiss the complaint on July 22, the week the party’s convention got underway — and the week that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) resigned as DNC chair. But the case dragged on into 2017, with the Becks heavily promoting the case on Twitter and through their super PAC, JamPAC. In April, the Becks and the DNC’s attorneys met in court, with the Becks arguing that the hacked emails had shown the DNC violated its charter, with staffers talking openly about how to elect Clinton.