United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS
TO DISMISS RE DOCUMENT NOS. 17, 19, 20, 22, 26
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se plaintiff George Webb Sweigert brings this putative
class action against a host of individuals and entities
purportedly associated with the Democratic National
Party-including Haseeb Rana, Theresa Grafenstine, the
Democratic National Committee (“the DNC”),
Deborah Wasserman Schultz, and Huma Abedin-in connection with
alleged actions taken by Defendants during the Democratic
primaries to the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. See
generally Compl., ECF No. 1; see Id.
¶¶ 4-13. In particular, Mr. Sweigert, an alleged
supporter of Bernie Sanders, claims that Defendants committed
fraud and breach of fiduciary duty by, among other things,
conducting a website-hacking conspiracy to promote Hillary
Clinton's candidacy and to diminish the candidacy of
Bernie Sanders. Id. ¶ 31. Defendants Haseeb
Rana, the DNC, Deborah Wasserman Schultz, Theresa
Grafenstine, and Huma Abedin each move to dismiss the
complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the
Court grants Defendants' motions to dismiss for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction. Pursuant to Rule 12(h)(3), this
order applies to all Defendants, not just those who have
responded, because no named Defendant bears a causal relation
to Mr. Sweigert's alleged injury in fact.
2016 Presidential election's Democratic primaries,
Hillary Clinton won the party's nomination over Bernie
Sanders and other candidates. Mr. Sweigert, an alleged
supporter of Bernie Sanders, claims that he contributed $30
to Bernie Sanders's Presidential campaign, donating
through ActBlue, a fundraising non-profit. Compl. ¶ 2.
Mr. Sweigert alleges that Defendants, all but Theresa
Grafenstine (“Ms. Grafenstine”), orchestrated a
hacking conspiracy designed to tip the Democratic primaries
in favor of Hillary Clinton. Id. ¶¶ 32-36.
Mr. Sweigert alleges that Defendants, other than Ms.
Grafenstine, defrauded donors to the DNC and to Bernie
Sanders by “engineer[ing] a sophisticated email
phishing attack” against Bernie Sanders supporters and
“concoct[ing] a false narrative that the Russian
government had been responsible” for the attack.
See Id. ¶¶ 33, 35. In particular,
Plaintiff claims that Defendants undertook this attack by
creating a URL similar to that of ActBlue, a fundraising
non-profit, and designed to route funds intended for Bernie
Sanders to bank accounts operated by Deborah Wasserman
Schultz and/or Imran Awan. Id. ¶ 33. Mr.
Sweigert theorizes that the DNC, in allegedly propagating a
false narrative about the supposed hacking, intended that the
statements would induce the DNC donor class to provide
contributions, statements upon which DNC donors actually
relied, alleges Mr. Sweigert, thus amounting to fraud.
See Id. ¶¶ 34- 37.
Mr. Sweigert claims that Defendants breached their alleged
fiduciary duty to Mr. Sweigert and to all Democratic donors
when certain Defendants:
(a) “[h]acked key Congressional communications systems
such as iConstituent and InterAmerica, ” thus creating
a spy ring out of the U.S. House of representatives.
Id. ¶ 42.
(b) “[u]sed an illegal email/dropbox combination in the
[U.S.] House of Representatives . . . to share information
with representative[s] of foreign governments including
Pakistan and the UAE for the purpose of economic espionage .
. . .” Id. ¶ 45
(c) “[e]ngag[ed] in a pay to play scheme, moving
privileged, private communication[s] from iConstituent
Congressional servers located in the U.S. House of
Representatives and DNC servers . . . to Anthony Weiner's
laptop . . . .” Id. ¶ 46.
(d) Handled iPhones and iPads intended only for Congressional
use. Id. ¶ 47.
(e) Conspired to create fake employees under the name
“PeopleSoft” in the House of Representatives
Human Resources system and sent payments from fake employee
accounts and from the U.S. Congressional Federal Credit
Union. Id. ¶¶ 48-49.
(f) Took electronic devices such as thumb drives, hard
drives, and laptops containing trade secrets and traded these
devices to “business entities” in Pakistan.
Id. ¶ 50.
on these allegations, Mr. Sweigert filed suit in this Court
claiming that Defendants committed fraud and breached
fiduciary duties owed to Plaintiff and to members of the
putative classes. Defendants Haseeb Rana, the DNC, Deborah
Wasserman Schultz, Theresa Grafenstine, and Huma Abedin move
to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Defendants' motions are
now ripe for decision.