Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton wave to the crowd after Sanders gave Clinton his formal endorsement during a rally at Portsmouth High School in New Hampshire earlier this month. Emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee show staff members biased toward Clinton despite the DNC being officially neutral during the primaries. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, July 23 (UPI) -- A trove of emails sent within the Democratic National Committee have been posted online by Wikileaks, showing apparent bias by staff members against former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.
While the DNC was officially neutral throughout the primary process, Sanders complained multiple times the organization was predisposed to support his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The emails, which surfaced weeks after Russian hackers were found to have gained access to the DNC's servers, show staff members discussing whether to question Sanders' Jewish faith in states with large numbers of Christian voters.
"It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God," wrote Brad Marshall, the chief financial officer of the committee. "He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps."
The email in question does not directly refer to Sanders and Marshall told the online news outlet The Intercept the subject wouldn't have been Sanders, but a television surrogate.
Other notes between top DNC staff members show instances where they discuss pitching and spinning stories to the press that would reflect poorly on Sanders.
In the wake of a dust-up over a Sanders campaign staff member accessing proprietary data belonging to the Clinton campaign, which was housed on a shared server, DNC staff members discussed whether to use the incident to make the Sanders campaign look inept.
"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," Mark Paustenbach, a communications official, wrote to Luis Miranda, the communications director for the committee.
Miranda replied, "True, but the Chair has been advised to not engage. So we'll have to leave it alone."
Throughout the campaign Sanders complained of unfair treatment by the DNC, dating back to the scheduling of debates on weekends when fewer voters would be watching, a strategy widely seen to favor Clinton, who started the race with a huge lead in the polls.
CNN reports the leaked emails come at a sensitive time, just days before the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia. Sanders and Clinton have struck a deal on several elements of the party platform and the party's rules package, which will govern the convention and how the party operates over the next four years.
The anti-Sanders emails could endanger parts of that deal, CNN said.