- Jane Sanders and her kids made thousands of dollars with their new company from Bernie Sander’s congressional campaign
- Jane Sander’s media buying company got paid every time Bernie Sanders bought television advertising
- Carina Driscoll’s school received at least one federal grant from the US Department of Agriculture while Bernie Sanders had oversight of USDA funding
In the latest episode, Peter Schweizer contrasts Bernie Sanders’ longtime championing of socialist values with the immense personal fortune his family has amassed through his decades of public service.
Bernie Sanders claims to be a fierce champion for the collective good. But his public service seems to have benefitted his family more than anyone else.
I’m Peter Schweizer, and this is the Drill Down.
Bernie Sanders has been a loud and constant voice for socialist policies throughout his thirty years in Washington D.C. And more voters than ever seem to be agreeing with him, giving Sanders a real chance to win the Democratic nomination.
But in my research for my new book Profiles in Corruption, I’ve discovered that while Sanders may champion the collective good, his public service has made him and his family very wealthy.
Perhaps no one has benefitted more from Sanders career in politics than his wife Jane.
When Bernie was first elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont, he appointed his then girlfriend Jane Driscoll to a position in his administration. Though the position was originally unpaid, Bernie eventually put her on the payroll over the objections of the city council. And Jane’s income would continue to be tied to Bernie’s public service.
Once Bernie and Jane were married, Jane received a big raise. And when Bernie won election to Congress, Jane’s business ties to her husband went to a new level.
By 2000, Bernie was in Washington D.C, serving in Congress. Jane and her children a new LLC called Sanders and Driscoll. The new firm was a for-profit consulting company, and was run by Jane, daughter Carina, and son David. The family ran this new business out of the Sanders family home. Because of the way it was structured, it’s impossible to know just how much money Bernie’s wife and children made from his congressional campaign. But critics would claim that Sanders doled out more than $150,000 to his family through the new company. 
Jane would even set up a media buying company, meaning that she would get paid every time candidate Bernie Sanders bought television advertising for his Congressional campaigns. 
Then, during his 2016 presidential run, the Sanders campaign would funnel $82 million dollars
through a mysterious media buying company run by Jane’s former colleagues. That company, known as Olde Towne Media, was located in private home in a cul de sac in Virginia.
When a Vermont reporter called to ask Jane about her possible ties to Old Town Media, she said, “I have no idea what Old Towne Media is” and hung up the phone. 
Even when Jane got a job not working for Bernie, it still seemed to be connected to his political position.
In 2004, Jane was appointed head of Burlington College, a private school with fewer than 200 students. One of the board members of the college admitted that Jane’s marriage to Bernie played a big role in her hiring, because they thought that it would help with fundraising.
And it did help some people raise money-specifically Bernie’s stepdaughter.
Starting in 2009, Burlington College contracted with an unaccredited Woodworking school that was run by Jane’s daughter Carina.
In total, Jane Sanders’ Burlington College would funnel over half a million dollars to her daughter’s woodworking school. And she wasn’t alone.
Carina Driscoll’s school also received at least one federal grant from the US Department of Agriculture.
Who had oversight for the USDA’s funding at the time?
That would be none other than Senator Bernie Sanders, who sat on the powerful Senate Budget Committee, which controlled the purse strings for that same USDA. 
Of course, you probably know that Bernie Sanders would run for president in 2016, capturing the hearts of the Democratic primary voters, if not the nomination.
But what you might not know is that, following the end of his campaign, Sanders launched a new non-profit organization called the Sanders Institute.
And, like with many ventures close to Sanders, he likes to keep the family in it. This time, it was his step-son David Driscoll who would be tabbed to run the new group, with a salary of close to $100,000 dollars a year.
As mayor, Bernie Sanders once delivered an infamous speech where he declared “I don’t believe in Charity.”
And, according to his financial disclosures, that appears to be the case. His records show he gives very little to them, even when making a high income.
But while Sanders may not be a fan of charity, he seems to have no problem awarding jobs and contracts to those closest to him.
I’m Peter Schweizer, and this is the Drill Down. For more episodes, find us on social media, or visit drilldowntv.com.
- Steven Soifer, The Socialist Mayor: Bernard Sanders in Burlington, Vermont (New York: Bergin & Garvey, 1991), pp. 180–81, 186–87; “Role of Youth Office Aide Merited Closer Examination,” Burlington Free Press, June 28, 1983, https://www.newspapers.com/image/203386739/; Mark Johnson, “Sparks Fly at City Hall,” Seven Days, June 16, 1988, https://www.sevendaysvt.com /vermont/-at-city-hall/Content?oid=2434429.
- Johnson, “Sparks Fly at City Hall.”
- Vermont Secretary of State Corporations Division, “Sanders & Driscoll, L.L.C.,” accessed June 19, 2019, https://www.vtsosonline.com/online /BusinessInquire/TradeNameInformation?businessID=11218; Belkin, “Being Married to Bernie.”
- Richardson, Bernie, p. 38; Vermont Secretary of State Corporations Division, “Sanders & Driscoll, L.L.C.,” accessed June 19, 2019, https://www.vtsosonline.com/online /BusinessInquire/TradeNameInformation?businessID=11218; Jasper Craven, “Special Report: Sanders Campaign Millions Go to Mystery Firm,” VTDigger, July 15, 2016, https://vtdigger .org/2016/07/15/sanders-campaign-millions-go-to-mystery-firm/
- Alice B. Lloyd, “Jane Sanders’s Little College That Couldn’t,” Washington Examiner, July 31, 2017, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly -standard/jane-sanderss-little-college-that-couldn’t
- Paul Heintz, “Jane Says: Sanders’ Secret Weapon or a Political Liability?,” Seven Days, June 17, 2015, https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/jane -says-sanders-secret-weapon-or-a-political-liability/Content?oid=267 0992.
- Leon J. Thompson, “She’s Nailed It,” Business People-Vermont, November 2015, http://www.vermontguides.com/2015/vtwoodwork1115.html; Jasper Craven, “One family, two schools: Questions raised about another Sanders deal,” VTDigger, June 13, 2017, https://vtdigger.org/2017/06/13/one-family -two-schools-questions-swirl-around-another-sanders-deal/
- “Vermont Woodworking School Expansion Project Receives USDA Grant for Bio-Mass Furnace,” Vermontbiz.com, September 10, 2008, https://ver montbiz.com/news/september/vermont-woodworking-school-expansion -project-receives-usda-grant-bio-mass-furnace; “Woodworking school meets in old barn,” Sun Community News & Printing, February 10, 2009; https:// www.suncommunitynews.com/articles/the-sun/woodworking-school -meets-in-old-barn/.
- David J. Tinsley, “Committee and Subcommittee Assignments,” S. Pub. 110–16, 110th Cong., December 1, 2007, https://www.govinfo.gov/content /pkg/GPO-CPUB-110spub16/pdf/GPO-CPUB-110spub16.pdf.
- Jasper Craven, “Sanders Institute has little to show for first year and $500K,” VTDigger, July 29, 2018, https://vtdigger.org/2018/07/29/sanders-institute -little-show-first-year-500k/.
- Peter Freyne, “El Cheapo!,” Seven Days, October 16, 1996, https://m.seven daysvt.com/vermont/el-cheapo/Content?oid=2433883.