By Michael Bielawski
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is involved in another allegation of misusing political campaign funds. This time the former presidential candidate is accused of funneling tens of thousands from his campaign to his family members’ nonprofit. The news report is based on third-quarter 2023 Federal Election Commission data.
Fox News had the initial report. They found that in August $75,000 was sent from his campaign over to the Sanders Institute which is a left-leaning think tank founded by his wife Jane O’Meara Sanders as well as his stepson David Driscoll.
In August VDC noted numerous other instances of questionable money transfers among Sanders’ family. In one case $200,000 was apparently sent to the same nonprofit institute.
According to a 2020 report appearing in The Atlantic, Sanders’ congressional reelection campaigns paid a stepdaughter of his at least $50,000 over four years. They also report that the same nonprofit has been paying Driscoll a $100,000 salary for years.
There was also a controversy at Burlington College involving Jane Sanders, who worked as president. The school closed in 2016 and its administration cited debt associated with a very large land purchase that she had advocated for.
Social media pundits highlight scandals
The piling on of controversies has garnered the attention of the Vermont GOP. They posted on Tuesday on X:
“First, Jane Sanders plays fast & loose with funding of now-defunct Burlington College. Now Sen. Sanders himself faces scrutiny for questionable campaign finance practices. Were legitimate services provided – or is this just a campaign finance money laundering scheme?”
The post attracted more online commenters including some who expressed frustration that these scandals don’t get attention sooner.
@TheLastLogger posted “One of our Team did Stumble on to Money Laundering in the Becca Blaint Campaign last Night. Republicans need to Stay ahead of the Game and Expose these things in Real time as opposed to After the Fact. Be interesting to see if this is Brought to light in our December Report.”
@Peter_Loomis wrote, “When an organization has a word salad for a mission statement they are in it for the money.”
@TheHolyGhosted7 wrote, “Right because Bernie’s poor as it is. They could use the financial support. Oh and Vermont’s poor are expected to finance his campaign for re-election.”
His past campaign controversies have also been noticed on social media. DC lawyer and conservative policy advocate Brady Toensing posted about the prior $200,000 payment.
“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.”
Sanders critical of Israel’s strategy for Gaza
Sanders has recently made public statements regarding the recently escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“For many, it is no secret that Gaza has been an open-air prison, with millions of people struggling to secure basic necessities,” Sanders said in a statement just days after the initial attacks on Israel.
He did condemn the attack by Hamas.
“The gunning down of young Israelis at a music festival is an image the world will not soon forget,” he said.
Sanders has made clear he is not a fan of the recent proposal to spend $105 billion on Ukraine, Israel, and the southern border. He posted on X,
“Congress cannot approve BILLIONS in a supplemental budget that ONLY addresses critical emergencies around the world. We have crises here at home too — child care, health care, housing, opioid addiction — that need major funding NOW and must be included in the supplemental.”
The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle