by Alison Despathy
Less than a year after the sketchy FTX crypto-campaign funding scandal involving current Rep. Becca Balint (D-VT), Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT), and the Vermont Democratic Party, more financial finagling inquiries have surfaced on yet another Vermont member of Congress – Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Recently acquired 2021 tax returns from the Sanders Institute reveal that 40% of the donations received morphed into salaries despite what appears to be a minimum of actual work performed by the institute itself. According to federal election commission records, the Sanders campaign committee donated $100,000 twice to the Sanders Institute. These donations were the largest made by the committee.
Fox News reported: “The tax documents indicate that the progressive lawmaker’s stepson is the big winner of the operation. In 2021, the institute raised $716,618 and drove $257,000 into wages, including $152,653 in salary and other compensation to Driscoll, who acts as its executive director.”
Questions related to the funneling of money are center stage and many await a response from Senator Sanders and the Sanders Institute regarding this situation. Further questions relate to the intention and actual work of the Sanders Institute since its inception in 2016.
For example, a quick read of the Sanders Institute blog shows the most recent post authored by the Institute is over a month old – a story on homelessness in California. Most of the posts are reprints from other news sources. The website trumpets its organization of something called The Gathering – an event that (as far as website readers know) happened five years ago in Burlington.
For an essentially socialist politician decrying capitalism and its evils, Senator Sanders has earned significant income apart from his Congressional salary. Sanders doubled his income in 2022 with his new book, ironically entitled, “It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism.”
Business Insider reported that Sanders almost doubled his income in 2022 with $170,000 in book royalties on top of his $174,000 Senator’s income. Apparently, he also made $170,000 from his book in 2020, bringing his book earnings to $340,000 thus far.