Bernie Sanders Accused Of Mishandling Campaign Funds, Allegedly Uses Donations For Family And Friends

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders may be a close competitor of frontrunner Hilary Clinton, but a new report might affect his chances at the nomination.

According to a Vanity Fair report, based on Washington Free Beacon‘s investigation regarding the accusation, a sizeable portion of Sanders’ campaign funds between 2000 and 2004 was used by his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, and his stepdaughter, Carina Driscoll.

O’Meara Sanders, who has been married to Bernie Sanders for 27 years, reportedly received over $90,000 for “consulting and ad placement services,” while Driscoll received $65,000 as payment over the course of four years.

However, this is not the only time that Sanders’ spouse has been dragged into a controversy.

O’Meara Sanders came under fire because of the expenditures at Burlington College, where she was president beginning in 2004. During her term, the college paid large sums of money amounting to $500,000 to the Vermont Woodworking School, which Driscoll supervised as well. The money was allegedly spent as payment for classes.

In addition, the college also allegedly sent $68,000 to a Caribbean resort run by the son of Jonathan Leopold, a close family friend of the Sanders’. Leopold’s son, whose name is also Jonathan, reportedly bought a small resort in the Caribbean with an accompanying hotel.

At the same time, the college offered its students a study-abroad program in the Caribbean, which included packages also paid off by the school.

The presidential candidate, during his time as Burlington city mayor, appointed Leopold as the city treasurer. However, the latter became involved in a multi-million scandal involving a telecommunications company in the city.

Bernie Sanders long considered Leopold as a very close friend whom he considers family. The Vermont senator said that his friend helped keep his “socialist impulses” in check all throughout their political careers.

Interestingly, the alleged payments to the woodworking school and the Caribbean resort stopped a year after O’Meara Sanders stepped down as president of Burlington College in 2011.

Her departure from the college was also a source of controversy as she allegedly overstated pledged contributions to the school. As a result, she was able to get a loan from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.

The diocese then lost $1.5 to $2 million in the deal, reports said.

While using the non-profit funds, which came from donations from supporters, is not illegal, it contradicts Sanders’ stance against political corruption, according to the Libertarian Republic.

During his campaign, Bernie Sanders showed himself as an “enemy” of politicians who enrich themselves and their families using their positions in government. Time and again, he has fought corrupt politicians who try to realize their hidden agenda using their respective positions.

The Democratic candidate is also advocating “more state power” in order to take more private wealth from individuals.

Due to his views, Sanders has gained considerable support from the youth, especially those who use social media and the internet.

During TIME magazine’s online poll for Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders came out on top, beating presidents, human rights advocates, and even terrorist groups.

Unfortunately, the recent report about Sanders’ campaign funds and his family’s alleged actions definitely do not reflect his advocacies.

It is also notable to point out that Sanders often claims that he is not a career politician or someone who has no professional experience aside from his stint in politics.

Bernie Sanders denies being a “Career Politician”

Thirty years into his political career and he still maintains the same claim.

If this new report is proven true, it will certainly damage Sanders’ credibility and reputation, and reduce his chances of getting the Democratic nomination.

Neither Leopold nor Bernie Sanders has responded to queries about the issue.

[Image by Alex Wong, Getty Images]