Bernie Sanders Funneled $200k to Family Non-Profit from Campaign Funds

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign committee, the Friends of Bernie Sanders, transferred $200,000 to the Sanders Institute, a nonprofit founded by his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, and stepson, David Driscoll. The payments were made in two equal tranches of $100,000 each in January and March, as revealed by filings with the Federal Election Commission. Among the pro-Sanders committee’s expenditures, this was the largest for the year.

Founded after Bernie Sanders’ significant 2016 presidential run, the Sanders Institute was publicly introduced in 2017. The institute’s activities seem to be limited, with its website primarily featuring articles by affiliated individuals like former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. A notable event, “The Gathering,” was held in 2018 in Burlington, Vermont. The organization briefly paused its activities in 2019 during Sanders’ 2020 presidential bid but seems to have resumed afterward.

The Sanders Institute’s avowed aim is to refresh democracy by encouraging individuals, organizations, and the media to seek progressive solutions to challenges in economics, the environment, race, and social justice. According to their 2021 tax documents, a substantial portion of their income–over one-third–went towards salaries. Executive Director David Driscoll received compensation totaling $152,653. One significant project, named the “Timeline Project,” accounted for $159,885 in 2021; the project aims to document Bernie Sanders’ contributions over four decades.

Interestingly, before the inception of the Sanders Institute, Sanders had criticized Hillary Clinton regarding the Clinton Foundation. He voiced concerns about the foundation (which was run by Hillary’s former husband) receiving substantial amounts from foreign governments, particularly dictatorships. Sanders highlighted the lack of democratic rights and liberties in nations like Saudi Arabia and questioned their contributions to the foundation.

Donors to the Sanders Institute remain somewhat unclear based on the available tax documents.


See original article at the New York Post.

Photo by Marc Nozell, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Jack McPherrin ([email protected]) is a managing editor of, research editor for The Heartland Institute, and a research fellow for Heartland's Socialism Research Center. He holds an MA in International Affairs from Loyola University-Chicago, and a dual BA in Economics and History from Boston College.