Washington: The Democratic race for president unexpectedly exploded with rancor as Hillary Clinton's campaign accused rival Bernie Sanders of stealing millions of dollars worth of information about potential voters.
Sanders' team, meanwhile, accused the Democratic Party of holding his White House bid hostage by temporarily barring it from accessing its own voter data.
His campaign filed a lawsuit to get it back and aggressively tried to turn the allegations into a political advantage.
The Democratic National Committee and the Sanders campaign reached an agreement late today to restore the campaign's access to the database. The Sanders campaign said its access was restored today morning.
The reaction to the data breach, the depth of which was debated by all involved, tore open an ugly fault line between two camps that had so far engaged in a relatively civil White House campaign.
"This information is really key to our campaign and our strategy," said Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook. "We are particularly disturbed right now that they are using the fact that they stole data as a reason to raise money for their campaign."
On the eve of the party's third presidential debate, it also thrust into the open longstanding suspicions among Sanders and his supporters that the national party is unfairly working to support Clinton's candidacy.
"Clearly, in this case, they are trying to help the Clinton campaign," Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said of the Democratic National Committee.
At issue is an extensive trove of voter information maintained by the DNC. The campaigns are able to add their own information to the database, information which they use to target voters and anticipate what issues might motivate them to cast ballots.
In Clinton's case, Mook said, the information stored in the database included "fundamental parts of our strategy."
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said that on Wednesday the Sanders campaign "inappropriately and systematically" accessed Clinton's data.
She rejected Weaver's effort to blame the breach on a software glitch and the actions of a small group of rogue staffers, one of whom was fired.