Bernie Sanders' Wife Won't Face Charges for Bank Fraud
Earlier today, federal prosecutors finished an investigation into a bad land deal involving Burlington College and Jane Sanders (the college's former president and the wife of Senator Bernie Sanders). Mrs. Sanders had been under investigation for allegedly lying on the loan application about the amount of “firm” donations the college had received in order to expand the campus. The Washington Post explains,
The investigation centered on a 2010 land purchase that relocated the college Jane Sanders previously ran to a new campus on more than 32 acres along Lake Champlain. While lining up a $6.7 million loan and additional financing, she told college trustees and lenders that the college had commitments for millions of dollars in donations that could be used to repay the loan, according to former trustees and state officials.
Trustees said they later discovered that many of the donors had not agreed to the amounts or the timing of the donations listed on documents Sanders provided to a state bonding agency and a bank. That led to her resignation in 2011 amid complaints from some trustees that she had provided inaccurate information, former college officials said.
The land deal, the officials said, became a financial albatross for the 160-student school, contributing to its closure in 2016.
According to the Washington Examiner, Sanders claimed $2.6 million in donations had been confirmed, and another $2.27 million was expected. But, by the summer of 2011, the college had only raised $125,000. Despite the apparent bank fraud, Bernie Sanders claimed the investigation was politically motivated because the investigation was sparked by a tip from Brady Toensing, the former Vermont state chairman for the Trump campaign. "I think it's fairly pathetic that when people are involved in public life, it's not only that they get attacked, but it's their wives and their families that get attacked," Bernie Sanders told CNN in 2017. According to the former presidential candidate, his wife had left the college "in better shape than it had ever been."
Clearly, it wasn’t. But his wife has apparently beaten the wrap anyway. According to Jeff Weaver, Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign manager, “Jane Sanders has been informed that the U.S. Attorney in Vermont has closed its investigation of the Burlington College land deal and has decided not to bring charges of any kind.”
“Jane is grateful that the investigation has come to an end,” Weaver added. “As she has said from the beginning she has done nothing wrong and Jane is pleased that the matter has now come to a conclusion."
Perhaps the real issue here is whether you even knew that Bernie Sanders’ wife was under criminal investigation at all. Probably not, because the news networks didn’t cover it. An analysis last year by Newsbusters found that the story “went unreported on ABC, CBS and NBC” even though the FBI was investigating. Is it not newsworthy that the wife of a former presidential candidate (who might have defeated Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination had the primaries not been rigged in her favor) was under criminal investigation for bank fraud? Of course not. Actually, the New York Times lamented last year that the investigation was "threatening to take some of the luster off the senator’s populist appeal.”