Bernie Sanders constantly says that he wants big money out of politics, it’s one of the central pillars of his presidential campaign.
While it hasn’t been reported by any major media outlets during this election cycle, the fact is that Sanders has used campaign funds to enrich members of his family in the past.
This report appeared in the Vermont Guardian in 2005:
Nepotism crosses party lines
WASHINGTON —The news that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-TX, paid his wife and daughter $473,801 as campaign staff members was just the beginning. At least 38 other members of Congress, including Vermont Rep. Bernie Sanders, have paid spouses, children, or other relatives out of campaign funds, or have hired companies in which a family member had a financial interest, according to news reports.
Since 2000, Sanders has used campaign donations to pay his wife and stepdaughter more than $150,000, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.
His wife Jane O’Meara Sanders received $91,020 for “consultation” and to negotiate the purchase of television and radio ads. Approximately $61,000 of that was “pass through” money used to pay for the ads, O’Meara Sanders told the Bennington Banner. She kept about $30,000 as pay for her services.
Her daughter Carina Driscoll, Sanders’ stepdaughter, earned $65,002 from the Sanders campaign between 2000 and 2004, records show.
A similar report appeared in the Times Argus of Vermont:
Sanders campaign paid family members
MONTPELIER — Rep. Bernard Sanders’ wife Jane was paid about $30,000 from 2002 to 2004 for work on his campaigns, while his stepdaughter Carina Driscoll got about $65,000 over a five-year period ending last year, a Sanders aide said Wednesday.
The issue resurfaced in 2006 and was covered by Roll Call:
GOP Hits Sanders on Wife’s Business
Sanders, who is seeking the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), is fighting back, saying that his likely Republican opponent, millionaire businessman Richard Tarrant, is lying.
The Tarrant campaign has resurrected news stories revealing that Sanders’ wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders — a former professional media buyer — was paid $30,000 for working on Sanders’ 2002 and 2004 House campaigns and his step-daughter, Carina Driscoll, had been paid about $65,000 over a five-year period.
What Sanders did is technically not illegal, but it’s astonishing that someone campaigning on the removal of big money in politics used campaign funds to pay large sums of money to members of his own family.