Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has repeatedly used his political position to steer money — both contributions to his campaigns and government funding — to his family members, explained Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute, senior contributor to Breitbart News, and author of Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite.
In the 13th installment of the Drill Down, Schweizer walks through how the self-described “democratic socialist” senator from Vermont channels campaign funds to his wife, Jane Sanders.
Throughout his congressional career in the House and Senate, Bernie Sanders has used campaign funds to procure media-buying services from a consulting company founded and operated by his wife and her children.
[In] 2000, Bernie was in Washington D.C, serving in Congress. Jane and her children a new LLC called Sanders and Driscoll. The new firm was a for-profit consulting company, and was run by Jane, daughter Carina, and son David. The family ran this new business out of the Sanders family home. Because of the way it was structured, it’s impossible to know just how much money Bernie’s wife and children made from his congressional campaign. But critics would claim that Sanders doled out more than $150,000 to his family through the new company.
Jane would even set up a media buying company, meaning that she would get paid every time candidate Bernie Sanders bought television advertising for his Congressional campaigns.
Then, during his 2016 presidential run, the Sanders campaign would funnel $82 million dollars through a mysterious media buying company run by Jane’s former colleagues. That company, known as Olde Towne Media, was located in private home in a cul de sac in Virginia.
As mayor of Burlington, VT, Bernie Sanders appointed his wife to an initially unpaid position in his municipal administration. Against the city council’s objections, he later put her on the payroll at local taxpayers’ expense.
Schweizer recalled Jane Sanders’ previous role as head of Burlington College, a private school with fewer than 200 students. One of the college’s board members admitted that hiring Jane Sanders was a function of her marriage to Bernie Sanders — then a member of House of Representatives from Vermont — believing it would help the school’s fundraising endeavors.
Despite its financial difficulties at the time, in 2009, Burlington College contracted with an unaccredited woodworking school run by Jane Sanders’ daughter, Carina Driscoll. Over $500,000 was funneled to from Burlington College to the woodworking school.
“Carina Driscoll’s school also received at least one federal grant from the US Department of Agriculture,” added Schweizer, noting that Bernie Sanders had oversight over the USDA’s funding at the time as a member of the Senate Budget Committee.
“I don’t believe in Charity,” said Bernie Sanders while mayor of Burlington.
Schweizer concluded, “While Sanders may not be a fan of charity, he seems to have no problem awarding jobs and contracts to those closest to him.”
“The biggest charity in Bernie’s life is Bernie,” said Schweizer in January.
Read the full video report’s transcript here.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.