If Hillary Clinton’s campaign had resorted to it’s plan to use the incident to attack her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, the national attention given to the financing of a land deal orchestrated by the wife of Senator Bernie Sanders, would have come a year earlier.
Jane O’Meara Sanders is being investigated by the federal officials for a $10 million land purchase she arranged as president of Burlington College. At issue is whether the overstated claims of support for the deal that Sanders included in seeking the loan rise to the level of fraud.
The initial complaint about the deal was filed in early 2016 by Brady Toensing. He later became the Vermont chairman of the Trump campaign, which has led Sen. Sanders to call the investigation a partisan vendetta.
But the files that were released by WikiLeaks, show that the Clinton campaign was considering about using the whole situation to benefit and get a political advantage.
The leaked document said that when Jane Sanders resigned from Burlington College, she accepted a $200,000 buyout of her contract and was criticized for it by a Sanders’ detractor, Skip Vallee.
Vallee argued that Bernie Sanders, who targeted “golden parachutes” for wealthy executives, was a hypocrite from benefitting from his wife’s own “golden parachute.”
“After several years as the president of Burlington College, Jane O’Meara Sanders resigned amid speculation that she conflicted with the board and (didn’t) bring in enough money for the school. Critics later tied her to the school’s financial trouble after she brokered a deal to borrow $10 million to buy land for the college. Members of the lending agency expressed concern over the college’s ability for pay back the loan and one suggested that if O’Meara Sanders was not involved, the loan would not have been approved. The Daily Caller suggested that she may have defrauded the state agency by lying about the college’s amount of pledged donations,” the Clinton campaign document said.
“I think our first question is how are we going to defeat Sanders..he’s not who he says he is – gun votes, DSCC money, Jane. There may be other options too but these seem to be the strongest attacks to consider. How we undermine Sanders candidacy is our threshold question,” the memo said.
The Clinton campaign memo pre-dated the investigation, which was sparked by Toensing’s complaint that to secure the $10 million needed, Jane Sanders obtained a $6.5 million loan from the People’s United Bank to buy tax-exempt bonds issued by a state agency, and a $3.65 million second mortgage from the Roman Catholic Diocese in Burlington.
Although Sanders claimed there was $2.4 million pledged to repay the loan, an investigation has revealed that amounts from some donors were overstated.
Toensing pointed out that politics had nothing to do with his initial complaint.
“This investigation was started under President Obama’s Justice Department. The senator’s claims are a common, but lame diversion for politicians faced with a grand jury investigation. He should focus on answering the allegations, which are solidly based on analysis of facts from documents obtained through public records requests and evidence gathered by investigative reporters,” said Toensing.
“Ms. Sanders and her husband have built political careers pontificating against corporate corruption and claiming to want to help the needy. The Diocese, however, actually helps the needy through vital direct services.”
“The loss of $2 million as a result of Ms. Sanders’s apparent misconduct will materially detract from this charitable work and cause significant harm to vulnerable Vermonters,” added Toensing.