The Sanders claim they are innocent, but they both secured lawyers for themselves.
It might be hard to keep up with the numerous allegations and investigations against political figures right now, but one you’ll need to add to your mental list is that of the bank fraud allegations against Bernie Sanders’ wife. Jane Sanders is the former president of the now-defunct Burlington College, a liberal arts school that resided in Vermont, and someone with a very interesting relationship with President Trump is the one who insisted there be an investigation into Jane’s loan dealings.
Jane was president from 2004 to 2011, at which point she resigned soon after securing a $10 million loan that was supposed to be used to purchase and develop the college on prime real estate. The college eventually defaulted on the loan in 2014 and permanently closed in 2016.
What Jane is accused of is bank fraud; Brady Toensing, who is Trump’s former campaign manager, sent a letter to the FBI urging them to investigate Jane Sanders because of her alleged inflation of more than $2 million in pledged donations that she included in her loan application. Toensing said that she used these highly exaggerated numbers to secure the loan, but that she never had that much in pledges and that is why they had to default.
In response to these allegations, both Jane and Bernie have procured individual lawyers while saying that the allegations have no basis in fact. In an interview with a local TV reporter in Burlington, Bernie fielded questions about a recent investigation that was allegedly launched in April of this year and said,
“Yes,” Sanders responded, “it is nonsense. But now that there is a process going on, which was initiated by Trump’s campaign manager, somebody who does this all of the time, has gone after a number of Democrats and progressives in this state. It would be improper at this point for me to add any more to that.”
Though Jane allegedly claimed that she had $2.6 million in pledged donations to assist in paying back the loan, she was only about to secure $279,000 in donations by the end of 2011, which was 6 months after the loan closing and the same year that she resigned. She left the school with a $200,000 buyout. The college had only raised $676,000 in the donations by the end of 2014, at which point it defaulted on the loan
Toensing claimed that Jane used her status as the wife of a powerful U.S. Senator to convince the bank to allow her to skip the underwriting that would have been required for such a large loan. There are also specific accusations, such as Jane’s alleged claim for a donation from someone who was supposed to give $1 million to the school, but only upon the donor’s death. Jane apparently claimed this donation as a cash payout that would be given in several payments over the next few years, not whenever the woman so happened to pass away.
“I think it’s pathetic that when people are involved in public life, it’s not only they get attacked, but it is their wives and their families that get attacked. That’s what this is about,” Bernie told CNN.
The Sanders are adamant in saying that the claims made by Toensing are nothing more than politically-driven falsehoods intended to put a negative spotlight on the family. Bernie has said that his “wife is about the most honest person I know.” Whether or not the allegations are deemed to be true is something that should come to light soon.
In an op-ed for Fox News, Alan Dershowitz phrased it perfectly:
“Welcome to the world of tit-for-tat criminalization of political differences. It’s just as wrong to use this dangerous tactic against Democrats as it is against Republicans. Both are wrong. And both are endangering the civil liberties of all Americans.”