U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, are apparently the subjects of a FBI criminal investigation into alleged bank fraud.
The bureau is investigating a loan the senator's wife obtained on behalf of Burlington College while she was its president. The application for the loan was filled out in 2010 and was meant to fund the purchase of 33 acres of land that included a 130-year-old former Catholic orphanage.
She was out as the college president less than a year later, and the college itself became insolvent trying to pay off the loans when student enrollment never came close to her lofty projections. But there's another part of the deal that has now drawn the FBI's attention.
According to the bank that holds the principle interest in the loan, Jane Sanders inflated the amount of donation pledges the college had received to nearly 20 times the actual donations received according to IRS records. Those claims were also investigated by a local citizen journalist, who published documentation on his blog:
Sanders told People's United Bank that the college had $2.6 million in pledged donations to support the purchase of the former Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington property on North Avenue. The college, however, received only $676,000 in actual donations from 2010 through 2014, according to figures provided by Burlington College.
That's far less than the $5 million Sanders listed as likely pledges in the loan agreement and less than a third of the $2.14 million Sanders had promised People's Bank the college would collect in cash during the four-year period.
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Now, with the FBI investigating, Politico reported—and it was later confirmed by CBS News—that the Sanderses have hired lawyers. They claim it's a political witch hunt perpetrated by the former Vermont campaign manager for President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, but in reality, the investigation began during the Obama administration and is still being led by Democrat appointees.
Jeff Weaver, Sanders' longtime top political adviser who heads Sanders' political organization, Our Revolution, confirms to Politico Magazine that Bernie and Jane Sanders have lawyered up. The couple has retained Rich Cassidy, a well-connected Burlington attorney and Sanders devotee, and Larry Robbins, the renowned Washington-based defense attorney who has represented I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and disgraced former Rep. Bill Jefferson, to represent Jane Sanders in the matter.
But that hasn't prevented the senator from "hitting the road" to advance his socialist agenda around the country. In a fundraising email released by his presidential campaign's Super PAC, Friends of Bernie, and obtained by Charisma Caucus, he explained what he plans to do as he tours the country this summer:
I am going back on the road to visit states where there are Republican senators who can and should vote to stop this moral abomination. I will be in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia on Saturday and Sunday. I will be talking about how unspeakable it would be to throw millions of people off of health insurance and in the same bill give tax breaks to the rich and multinational corporations. We will share the stories of people who will be impacted by this bill.
But I will also be asking why is it that the United States is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all of its people as a right. I will be asking why we pay far more per capita than any other nation for health care with worse outcomes and the highest prices for prescription drugs.
And I will be discussing the Medicare-for-all, single-payer legislation that I will soon be introducing in the United States Senate ...
People who cannot afford health care do not deserve to die, but that is what will happen if this bill passes. If there are rallies in your area, please attend them. Please work with me to revitalize American democracy and advance our political revolution.
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