For the last few weeks, the media has been largely focused on the Trump/Russia collusion scandal, and little airtime has been given to the FBI investigation into the finances of Bernie Sanders’s wife, Jane Sanders. Sanders was the president of Burlington College in Vermont until her removal in 2010. During that time, she was assigned to brokering a land purchase deal in order to expand the college. The deal involved a 10 million dollar purchase of a land lot for Burlington to expand. She allegedly lied to the college board of trustees and the bank from which she obtained a 6.5 million dollar loan about how much money she had raised for the expansion. She claimed to have raised 2.4 million from donors for the college, but she did not raise any money at all. Hillary Clinton’s campaign first uncovered the fraud while conducting opposition research in December 2015. Vermont attorney Bryan Toensing discovered the fraud and filed a complaint in January 2016. The college went bankrupt and closed in 2016 as a result of Sanders’s bank fraud activity. Senator Sanders claimed that the investigation was motivated by Republicans trying to smear his image after the investigation first came to light in July. This is probably not true, but remains unclear as the attorney who filed the complaint allegedly has connections to the Trump administration. One thing is clear, Jane Sanders broke the law and engaged in illegal activities on behalf of Burlington College.
This investigation will definitely hurt Sanders’s populist image especially as 2018 midterms approach and he is up for re-election in his home state of Vermont. Currently, Sanders is the poster boy of the Democratic Party, and this will likely hurt the image of the party, as they are going to try and take back their majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives in 2018.