A staffer for Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign resigned on Monday after gaining access to Senator Kamala Harris’s campaign data, according to the South Carolina Post and Courier.
Steyer’s deputy director for South Carolina, Dwane Sims, used his credentials from his former job at the South Carolina Democratic party to download data on volunteer contacts collected by the Harris campaign.
The Steyer campaign said the download was inadvertent, and that Sims immediately notified Democratic party officials once the download began. However, both the S.C. Democratic party and the Democratic National Committee denied Sims had immediately contacted them. The DNC maintains it caught Sims downloading the data.
“We take this matter very seriously, and that is why we immediately worked with the DNC to disable this employee’s access [to the party’s voter-file system],” said S.C. Democratic party chairman Trav Robertson. “It is critical that the Steyer campaign take immediate action regarding their employee.”
The Steyer campaign had been conducting an internal investigation into the incident over the weekend. However, after news of the incident broke on Monday, Sims resigned from the campaign.
“We apologize to the South Carolina Democratic Party and the DNC,” said Steyer campaign manager Heather Hargreaves in a statement. “Tom Steyer and the Steyer campaign extend our deepest apology to Senator Kamala Harris and her campaign.”
Harris campaign spokesman Ian Sams commented on the incident on Monday.
“Our organizers and volunteers work incredibly hard,” Sams wrote on Twitter. “It’s unfortunate anyone would try to steal that work from our team.”
Steyer is a billionaire hedge-fund manager and environmentalist. He has been polling at less than 1 percent in national surveys of prospective Democratic primary voters.
Harris was once a front-runner in Democratic primary polling. However, in recent days her campaign has cratered to between three and four percent of primary voters nationally.