Bernie Sanders pushing campaign money to wife and stepson’s nonprofit raises ‘legitimate concern’: watchdog

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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is directing campaign funds to a nonprofit founded by two of his immediate family members raising “legitimate concerns,” according to a watchdog group.

Fox News Digital reported last week that in January and March the independent senator transferred $200,000 in grant money to the Sanders Institute, which was co-founded by his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, and -son, David Driscoll, in 2017.

The Sanders Institute appears to be doing very little work while paying Driscoll six figures in salary and other compensation, according to its most recent tax forms from 2021.

“The facts present in this case and the family ties involved certainly raise legitimate concerns,” Kendra Arnold, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civil Trust, told Fox News Digital. , a grandfather is not allowed to use his campaign to simply transfer large sums of money to family members – no matter what path the dollars take.”

Bernie Sanders Doubles His 2022 Income With Profits From Anti-Capitalism Book Rail

Bernie Sanders

Sanders’ campaign made $200,000 in charitable contributions to a nonprofit founded by his wife and stepmother this year. (Stefani Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS)

“Although the percentage of non-profit paid out in wages alone is not really a problem, legally the question depends on whether wages have been paid” for bona fide services at fair market value,” Arnold said. “In other words, if the nonprofit and its executive director are actually doing work and earning the money, it’s not illegal, but it is frowned upon. On the other hand, if nothing or very little is being done to earn the money legitimately. money, then it is very likely that a serious financial breach of enterprise has been do.”

It’s not clear exactly what the nonprofit is accomplishing. In its 2021 tax filings, the Sanders Institute reported that it dropped $159,885 to develop The Timeline Project, which it described as a “policy-focused resource based on Bernie Sanders’ work over four decades” that would be one of the “main pillars. [sic] of the website.”

It seems that cost was never incurred, however. Nothing on the website resembles a “policy-focused resource” as described in its documentation.


Bernie Sanders at the hearing

The Sanders Institute seems to be doing very little work. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

The institute also reported that nearly $89,000 was paid for a news website, an equal amount for social media and content creation, and $17,765 for a collection that never happened as a result of its ‘ an epidemic.

But despite the costs of creating content, many of the blog posts on his website are largely taken from and credited to other sources. His YouTube page has only uploaded two short videos this year. Her profile on X, formerly known as Twitter, appears to mostly push outside news articles and opinion pieces from her peers.

The Sanders Institute also did not identify any grant money sent to other liberal groups in its most recent tax filings despite Jane Sanders saying its purpose is to “revive democracy in support of progressive institutions ” at its launch.


Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders

The senator’s stepson, David Driscoll, took home $152,653 from the nonprofit in 2021. (Drew Anger/Getty Images)

At the same time, Sanders’ latest money transfers were not the first to his wife and son’s institution. In 2021, his presidential committee sent $350,000 to the nonprofit, according to federal filings. The money accounted for nearly half of the $716,000 in donations raised by the organization that year, and Driscoll collected $152,653 in compensation.

Fox News Digital has yet to receive a response on the matter. The Sanders Institute has never responded to questions about the campaign’s finances and its work or accomplishments. The Sanders campaign also did not explain why they gave the donor money to the institute.

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