Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and his wife, Jane, have hired top-notch defense attorneys amid an FBI investigation probing Jane for potentially committing fraud.
It was reported last month that the FBI is actively investigating Jane for potentially committing fraud during the time that she served as the president of Burlington College between 2004 and 2011.
At the center of the investigation is a $10 million loan that Jane secured from People’s United Bank in 2010 in order to purchase 33 acres of land for the school. When applying for the loan, FBI investigators allege that Sanders distorted donor levels to make it appear the school was in a better financial position than it really was.
More from The Hill:
She claimed the college could count on $2.6 million in donations to pay for the purchased land, according to a 2010 loan application. But she ultimately raised only a fourth of that, making $676,000 in donations over the next four years, putting the college into bankruptcy in May 2016.
The numbers that donors say they pledged compared to what Sanders documented differ, according the report.
The report cites an example where Corinne Bove Maietta pledged to give $1 million over half a decade, according to the 2010 loan application. Maietta, however, says she did not make that pledge, saying she offered a bequest of an unspecified amount to be paid to the college when she died, the report said.
The FBI’s investigation was originally reported by VTDigger.org, a watchdog website covering Vermont politics.
To make matters worse, federal investigators are also looking into whether or not Bernie Sanders used his clout as a U.S. congressman to help his wife obtain her loan for the school.
In response to the building investigation, Sanders and his wife have lawyered up.
From Politico Magazine:
The couple has retained Rich Cassidy, a well-connected Burlington attorney and Sanders devotee, and Larry Robbins, the renowned Washington-based defense attorney who has represented I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and disgraced former Rep. Bill Jefferson, to represent Jane Sanders in the matter.
Burlington College closed it doors for good last year after going bankrupt.
Sanders and his wife have denied any wrongdoing and have suggested the investigation is based on politics, according to the New York Daily News.
“This implication came from Donald Trump’s Vermont campaign manager. It’s from Donald Trump’s campaign manager in Vermont,” Sanders said last month, according to the Daily News. “Let me leave it at that because at this point it would be improper for me to say any more.”