On 22 July 2016, Wikileaks published 20,000 e-mails sent or received by Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials during the 2016 primary election season. In the immediate aftermath of the leak, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was ousted from her position and was offered an honorary role with the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Details of the vast dataset leak circulated slowly as the Democratic convention kicked off in late July 2016 in Philadelphia, and the effects of the leak did not go unnoticed among attendees. Among individuals implicated in the 22 July 2016 leak were at least seven top DNC officials, who were criticized for sabotaging the campaign of rival Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and for manipulating the reporting of news outlets:
Immediately, social media users seized upon what were perceived as particularly worrisome e-mails among the 20,000 released. Among them were communications heavily suggesting favor to the Clinton campaign, evidence of story-planting in concert with media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and Politico, an April 2016 drafted announcement proclaiming Sanders’ ostensible exit from the race, and a suggestion from DNC CFO Brad Marshall that a member of the press be tapped to smear Bernie Sanders on his religious beliefs.
According to the New York Times, the DNC confirmed on 2 August 2016 that three top DNC staffers were leaving the organization:
The shake-up at the Democratic National Committee after an embarrassing breach of its email system continued with the departure of three senior officials.
Amy Dacey, the committee’s chief executive; Luis Miranda, its communications director; and Brad Marshall, its chief financial officer, will leave amid a reshuffling of leadership positions, said Donna Brazile, the interim chairwoman. Ms. Brazile praised the outgoing staff members and made no mention of the controversy.
“Thanks in part to the hard work of Amy, Luis, and Brad, the Democratic Party has adopted the most progressive platform in history, has put itself in financial position to win in November, and has begun the important work of investing in state party partnerships,” she said in a statement. “I’m so grateful for their commitment to this cause, and I wish them continued success in the next chapter of their career.”
In May, [communications staffer] Paustenbach wrote to Mr. Miranda about encouraging reporters to write that Mr. Sanders’s campaign was “a mess” after a glitch on the committee’s servers gave the Sanders campaign access to the Clinton campaign’s voter database.
“Wondering if there’s a good Bernie narrative for a story, which is that Bernie never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess,” Mr. Paustenbach wrote.
Politico reported that the DNC officials’ departure was not entirely unexpected, with some having been sent home early during the convention:
Marshall has been under fire since the hack unearthed an email in which he suggested questioning Sanders’ religion during the primary. Similarly, Miranda was seen as talking up Clinton internally and drawing up public arguments on her behalf. Miranda, who was sent home from Philadelphia during the convention, has seen his role undermined since press operations were largely outsourced to the firm SKDKnickerbocker, longtime consultants for the DNC, according to Democratic officials inside and outside the building.
As now-former CEO of the DNC, Dacey was the highest-ranking official to step down after the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The organization announced the exits of Miranda and Marshall in a press release issued on 2 August 2016.