Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the progressive darling who nearly thwarted Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary and has emerged as a vocal opponent of the Trump administration, has lawyered up alongside his wife, Jane Sanders, in the wake of a federal investigation involving a loan that she took out as head of a Vermont College.
Jane Sanders has quietly been under the FBI lens since April, when the bureau opened an investigation to determine whether she falsified information on loan documents in order to funnel funds into the now-defunct liberal arts school Burlington College, which she headed from 2004 to 2011. During her tenure, the school went $10 million in debt.
Last month, Bernie Sanders was questioned by a local TV reporter about the potential scandal, and his reaction was telling, Politico Magazine reported. As Kyle Midura of Burlingtonâ€™s WCAX began to ask him about whether he used his political clout to secure the loan, Sanders balked.
â€śWell, as you know, it would be impropâ€”this implication came from Donald Trumpâ€™s campaign manager in Vermont,â€ť he interrupted. â€śLet me leave it at that, because it would be improper at this point for me to say anything more.â€ť
When pressed on the matter, Sanders continued: â€śYes, it is nonsense. But now that there is a process going on, which was initiated by Trumpâ€™s campaign manager, somebody who does this all 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.â€ť
Nonsense or not, the Sanders have retained the services of both Rich Cassidy, a Burlington attorney and Sanders supporter, as well as noted Washington attorney Larry Robbins, who famously defended I. Lewis â€śScooterâ€ť Libby for leaking the covert identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson.
At the heart of the matter is a pricy land acquisition that Jane Sanders campaigned for in 2010 involving $2.6 million for 33 acres. She only managed to raise $676,000 in donations over the next four years, turning to the bank to fill in the gaps â€“ and by May of last year, as Sanders launched his presidential bid, Burlington College had gone bankrupt.