Bernie Sanders’ long history of nepotism

Questions raised about how at least three family members have benefited financially

Carina Driscoll, stepdaughter of Jane Sanders, got a ‘sweetheart deal’ to open a woodworking school in Fairfax, the Atlantic reported.

By Michael Bielawski
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, hasn’t responded to Vermont Daily Chronicle questions about his campaign funneling $200,000 to his wife Jane Sanders’ nonprofit institute that also employs his stepson David Driscoll, with over $100,000 in annual compensation.

This is not the first time that the self-described democratic socialist has been in the spotlight for questionable financial decisions involving his family.

Regarding the latest incident, the nonprofit apparently offers few public records on its donors. “It is not fully apparent who has donated to the Sanders Institute based on its tax records,” states a Fox News report.

DC lawyer and conservative policy advocate Brady Toensing and others have chimed in on social media.

Toensing wrote on ‘X’ (formally Twitter), “Bernie Sanders funneled $200K in campaign cash to wife and stepson’s nonprofit institute. #BankfraudBernie hates capitalism, but loves $. #vtpoli The story reports the institute produced very little work despite all this salary to family.”

Ongoing for at least four years
According to a 2020 report by The Atlantic, Bernie and Jane Sanders have been directing cash, in one form or another, to his family for years.

“Sanders put his wife on the Burlington city payroll and made a company of hers, Progressive Media Strategies, a top recipient of campaign cash. His congressional reelection campaigns paid one of his stepdaughters more than $50,000 over four years; a nonprofit his wife started, the Sanders Institute, paid her son, David Driscoll, a $100,000 salary,” the report states.

Burlington College (RIP)
At Burlington College, where Jane Sanders worked as president, there were also financial concerns. When the school closed in 2016, the administration cited debt associated with a very large land purchase that she advocated for. A report from the Atlantic in 2016 detailed the problems.

“Many of the school’s financial difficulties date to Sanders’s tenure as president. … In announcing the closure, the school blamed the ‘crushing weight of the debt’ from the purchase of a new campus in 2010, during Sanders’s tenure. Burlington said its bank had pulled the school’s line of credit.”

She was president of the college from 2004 until 2011 when she exited with a $200,000 severance pay. Andy Ostrey writing for the Huffington Post in 2016 wrote:

“A man who has no problem with his wife accepting a $200,000 Wall Street-ish golden parachute as he demonizes the very same industry for engaging in the very same practices that serve to create the very same income and wealth inequality he’s made the cornerstone of his revolution?” Ostrey wrote. “The goose and the gander come to mind here.”

There was another questionable deal regarding Jane Sanders’ time at the school. This time, according to Carol Moore who was the last president of the college, it involved a “sweetheart deal” involving Driscoll’s Vermont Woodworking School in Franklin County where Burlington College students took courses. The school was founded by Carina Driscoll, her stepdaughter.

Moore told VtDigger in 2017 that the woodworking school was “gouging the college” for resources.

Made money bashing capitalism
In another report by Fox News from in May details how Sanders has made a lot of money from attacking the very economic system that he’s profited greatly from, including he pulled in a hefty sum by selling an anti-capitalism themed book.

“The latest round of financial disclosure forms from the Vermont senator, first reported by Business Insider and obtained by Fox News Digital, show $170,000 in royalties last year from Penguin Random House for his book “It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism,” it states.

It didn’t help the controversy that Sanders promoted an event to help publicize the book which cost nearly $100 a seat to attend. Furthermore, the tickets were being sold via Ticketmaster, a company that’s been under criticism at times for suspect business practices of their own.

Sanders’ tax records scrutinized did a report in 2019 titled “Bernie Sanders is hypocritical on most significant campaign issues.” The writer Mandy Gunasekara notes the irony that capitalism’s most vocal critic is a major beneficiary. She focused on his tax records.

“If Sanders were the authentic socialist he believes himself to be, he would have divvied up his wealth and given it to those most in need, or in the very least paid a 43 percent tax rate consistent with his own tax plan for those making over $500,000,” the report states.

Former President Trump has also called out Sanders over his tax records. Trump noted that Sanders seemed to have benefited greatly from the tax cuts that he advocated for.

“Bernie Sanders and wife should pay the Pre-Trump Taxes on their almost $600,000 in income,” Trump wrote. “He is always complaining about these big TAX CUTS, except when it benefits him. They made a fortune off of Trump.”

The author is a reporter for Vermont Daily Chronicle

Categories: Congress

20 replies »

  1. It’s too bad that the people who voted didn’t take the time to find this out before, that’s why a national and state vetting system should be in place on canidates before elections and one that is not run by the government!

  2. Bernie is a crook–always has been. He used to lambast millionaires for “…not paying their share…” in taxes. Now that he is a millionaire, it is the thousand or so billionaires in the country that Bernie shouts and spits about not paying their “…fair share…” Can anyone name just one thing this buffoon has done for Vermonters besides making Vermont a joke?

  3. When someone is seen by their deluded supporters and the fawning media as holding the moral and ideological high ground, certain “personal matters” get overlooked. When the mission is to save society from people who advocate for personal responsibility and traditional values, a little misappropriated public money is a small price to pay.

  4. Bernie’s current term in office expires on 1/03/2025 and he is just egotistical enough to run again. You guys know what you have to do.
    I am not fond of Bernie for a number of reasons and would not be sorry to see him go.

    Wasn’t his wife Jane instrumental in croaking Burlington College?

      • Look back a bit further to Goddard College. Jane Sanders was paid a goodly bundle to do very little helpful to a college swallowing its endowment.

    • Yes, Jane has a varied past, besides turning Burlington College into a closed
      door prospect, and then funding her daughter’s woodworking venture, let not
      forget when Bernie was Mayor and Jane worked for the Burlington Police
      Department, not sure but funds were missing and Jane was fired, I guess just
      a coincidence !!

  5. If my memory is correct, I believe that Bernie’s wife cooked the books at the College. The books showed people donated more money than the actually did. I also remember her getting grant money from Uncle Sam. Gee, you don’t think her husband being a US Senator had anything to do with that. As most Americans are struggling with high energy and food prices the Demon Crats are trying to tell us that thanks to Biden inflation is on the mend. There’s a name for people voting Demon Crats. It’s called “suckers” and Vermont is loaded with them.

    • Correct. The FBI investigated but because both Bernie and the FBI are far left, they could find no malfeasance.

  6. Unfortunately this behavior has become the norm for politicians. Until they start receiving real consequences for their criminal actions it will never change.

    • Exactly. Both parties have members guilty of this because they are run by establishment politicians who enrich themselves along with family and friends as they’ve made a career out of being a ‘public servant’. When the criminals are allowed to write the laws to protect themselves from profiteering off political donations it may make it legal in some cases but it’s certainly not moral. The reason the national GOP has no interest in standing behind Trump is because he is an outsider who is a threat to their insider games and profiteering as well.

  7. In my experience, a number of the people in the “Boiney” cult are members because it’s akin to being part of the “in” crowd. And it’s fun to say “Boiney.” He walks in parades, makes personal appearances and sometimes even mingles with the common folk. He leaves them star struck at having gotten to shake his hand. “It was just so cool…I got to meet Boiney!” I would bet my last dollar that a number of his flock have minimal knowledge of his political history and questionable financial dealings. They probably know even less about his wife’s alleged transgressions. Bernie is fun, he’s their hip, wild haired socialist grandfather….he rants, he raves…but the followers don’t really listen. They don’t have to because…you know, he wears mittens and he’s cool.

  8. “A people who elect corrupt politicians, impostors, thieves and traitors are not victims but accomplices”.

  9. But, but, but… The FBI cleared Bernie and Jane of any wrongdoing, remember? Nothing to see here, they said.

    Nah, Bernie just took a lesson from Sloppy Joe about setting up a crime family, hiding donors behind a dozen LLCs, pretending to care about the common folk, doing the opposite of what you preach, etc. Seriously, look at the parallels between the Biden and Sanders operations. Does everyone not see them?

    And to the rest of the comments I’ll add the lakefront house in North Hero Bernie was gifted by Hillary for stepping aside in 2016, er, I mean the house he bought in North Hero in 2016. He paid $660k for it lock, stock, and barrel, huh? Maybe so, but that’s at least a $2M property. Maybe the servants’ quarters are worth $660k, but that’s about it.

    Who paid the other $1.5M? Or was someone really that stupid to sell a $2M lakefront property at a 65% loss?

    Count me among the many who also fail to see the mystique of Bernie Sanders.

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