Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: *What* Is Jane Sanders Being Set Up For?

On the one hand, Bernie Don’t Stand Next to Me Sanders doesn’t have a lot of women on his campaign committee, and this year every campaign has to highlight some kind of feminist sensibility.

On the other, given the increased scrutiny of his (household’s) sources of income… well, I’m a cynic, but ‘my spouse handles all that financial stuff, I had nothing to do with those sketchy investments/deductions/campaign spending outlays’ is a time-honored (if usually ineffective) excuse when the records are finally forced open…

Before Bernie Sanders took the stage to formally launch his 2020 presidential campaign this month, the candidate’s most influential adviser took the mic. To cheers, Jane Sanders introduced herself to the Brooklyn crowd as “Bernie’s wife,” then conceded that wasn’t the most politically correct label.

To be sure, identifying Jane Sanders as “the wife” hardly captures the scope of her influence on her husband’s political career. Across 30 years and a dozen campaigns for federal office, she has served variously as her husband’s media consultant, surrogate, fundraiser, chief of staff, campaign spokeswoman and top strategist.

His political revolution has become her career. And her political and business activities have, at times, become his headache. As the Vermont senator undertakes his second presidential run and scrambles his inner circle, Jane Sanders remains his closest adviser, making her perhaps the most influential woman in the 2020 campaign who isn’t a candidate…

“Bernie Sanders ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016 criticizing her for the vast sums of money she raised and he seems to be following in some of her footsteps,” said Lawrence R. Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “Now he’s raising vast sums of money and it’s being controlled and shaped by his family.”…

Yeah, I remember it being an (undercovered) issue in 2016, too — remember Old Towne Media?

It was to the Repubs’ advantage that Sanders’ sketchy finances not be investigated when he was running against Hillary Clinton. If the Sandernistas think he’ll get the same free pass in 2020, they’re even dumber more optimistic than they appear.

31 replies
  1. 1
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    The DNC should simply issue a ukase to the effect that any candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination who has not released xx years’ worth of their tax returns by a date certain will be denied a place on the primary debate stages, no matter how much money their campaigns have raised or how many donors they have. No exceptions.

  2. 2
    eclare says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Agreed, and I don’t know why Perez won’t go there.

  3. 3
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Do you think it would help if we bombarded DNC HQ with phone calls and emails? I have no idea how much attention they pay to their constituency, but it probably couldn’t hurt. If for no other reason, it would be a strong and principled contrast to the GOP, who seem to be perfectly okay with having their candidate withhold his returns from public scrutiny.

  4. 4
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    DNC phone number is 202.863.8000

  5. 5
    NotMax says:


    Yup. No returns, no arrivals.

  6. 6
    Ruckus says:

    I received an email from the Tom Perez/DNC late today asking for money. I believe that a question for them is in order.
    We know that taking the WH and the senate back is vital and they may be making the decision that BS would still be better than rethugs. I’m not sure about that at all. I think we should let them know how the wind blows in many parts of this country and it doesn’t include BS.

  7. 7
    Emerald says:

    “The press don’t care.”

    The press want their cherished “Dems in disarray” meme, and Wilmer is the man who will give it to them.

    Of course they won’t vet him. At all. Any more than they did last time.

  8. 8
    Plato says:


    Apply the same rule that is applied to the primary voters – you have to be a dem party member both to vote and to contest. But Perez is a boneless critter along with the dnc, dccc and other party establishment.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Sab says:

    Why is Jill Sanders “being set up” for anything, other than logical consequences of thirty years of her own bad actions. Although I won’t ever agree that Bernie didn’t know.

  11. 11
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    I’m sure Wilmer will release his tax returns when he primaries President Warren in 2024.

  12. 12
    Sab says:

    @eclare: @SiubhanDuinne: My impresion is that Perez has a “community action” mindset, much like Obama.

    They try to get along to communicate in difficult settings.

    I am not much into publicly criticizing these guys who have been on the ground in the trenches for decades. On the other hand they are community activists, and if they are any good they respond to criticism. So tweeting and facebook crit might be useful.
    Complain but don’t torch.

  13. 13
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I’m not much of a torcher.

  14. 14
    Sab says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I never said you were. You are a good cmmenter and commentater. I was just speaking generally. Which can be problematic.

    ETA: plus I can’ t spell at 4 am. Spellings hopefully mostly corrected.

  15. 15

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: this is much better than your original draft which I was just about to comment on before I refreshed!

  16. 16
    Sab says:

    @Sab: @Sab: Also heartening: Spouse was talking to our 18 year old granddaughter, driving her to school. She was optomistic: “My friends are all finally recognizing that we have three branches of government, at least two of whom aren’t doing their job.”

  17. 17
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Hows the tea?

  18. 18

    @OzarkHillbilly: we were sorta just in it for the gondola.

  19. 19
    montanareddog says:


    Agreed, and I don’t know why Perez won’t go there.

    Perez is experienced and I, for one, am willing to let him handle this as he sees fit. Perhaps, they have gamed this out and see a risk in Wilmer running a 3rd party candidacy if institutional blocks are put in his way. Solution is for Dem primary voters to make clear he is not their preferred candidate, with no DNC fingerprints that Wilmer could leverage for another grievance grift.

  20. 20
    Chyron HR says:

    “Sure, the Democrat scum may not properly appreciate the glorious sight of Bernie yelling “shut up” at half a dozen female candidates, but what if there was such a thing as a 1st spouse debate where the holy receptacle of His divine seed was on stage with a bunch of men? That would show THEM who the real feminist is!”

  21. 21
    trnc says:

    Weird. Jane sounds a lot like she may actually be the type of spouse Hillary was falsely accused of being in the 90s.

  22. 22
    EmbraceYourInnerCrone says:

    @montanareddog – Re: Tom Perez – There is a difference between not putting institutional blocks in Bernie’s way, and campaigning with Bernie for an anti-abortion Dem mayoral candidate (Nebraska state senator Heath Mello – who as a state senator, cosponsored bills advocating abortion restrictions). The president of NARAL put it better than I could:

    “The actions today by the DNC to embrace and support a candidate for office who will strip women – one of the most critical constituencies for the party – of our basic rights and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid,” Hogue said. “Today’s action makes this so-called ‘fight back tour’ look more like a throw-back tour for women and our rights.”

    As for Jane O’Meara Sanders – I would like to see as many articles about how her fudging donation information to People’s Bank, to obtain a loan for expanding Burlington College led to the death of the college, as I have had to read about Hillary Clinton’s emails…. Also about the lovely sweetheart deal she arranged between the college and her daughters wood working school…

  23. 23
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @EmbraceYourInnerCrone: @trnc: That whole Burlington College thing *screams* to me that what was going on was the college currying favor with a powerful local politician by cozying up to his wife. Small-town / small-state nepotism and various iñcestuous business-politics entanglements. And yet Sandernistas will tell you that he’s the only honest, righteous person in politics. Shyeah.

  24. 24
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chyron HR: I thought DeMoro was imagining Jane Sanders debating Melania Trump.

    The thing is, from all appearances, Jane Sanders sucks.

    Is it like how Republicans were all sure that Ann Romney was Mitt’s “secret weapon”?

  25. 25
    Callay says:

    Isn’t Jane Sanders’ dubious claim to fame running a small university into the ground by misappropriating endowments to help the local Diocese pay their legal fees by buying a huge chunk of church land that the school didn’t need?

    Yeah, what could possibly go wrong there.

  26. 26
    Gex says:

    @montanareddog: “with no DNC fingerprints that Wilmer could leverage for another grievance grift.”

    I fully expect the exact same response to losing this time as he had last time. It wasn’t fact based last time, it won’t be fact based this time.

  27. 27
    Betty says:

    Jennifer Rubin brings this up on Twitter all the time.

  28. 28
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gex: “If I’m really good and don’t do anything to upset him and have everything just right, then he won’t beat me tonight when he comes home from work.”

  29. 29
    Barbara says:

    @Callay: She didn’t misappropriate endowments. What she is accused of having done is to sign an allegedly false attestation to a bank about having raised a certain amount of money from donors that was a condition of the bank’s approval of a the loan to purchase the property from the diocese that, yes, helped the diocese pay off its legal bills. The donations either didn’t exist or were so contingent on things like the death of the potential donors that in fact there were no donations that the college had a present property interest in. Nonetheless, to mount a criminal case, the government would have to show that Sanders was not just being unduly optimistic, but intended to deceive. There is no suggestion that she or anyone she knew personally benefited from the transaction. (Unlike some other allegations, e.g., paying relatives to provide classes in warm locations and so on.) It was sleazy and risky as heck and drove the college into a death spiral.

  30. 30
    J R in WV says:


    So what you’re saying is it wasn’t theft, it was stupidly terrible management and we can’t tell if she killed the school off to benefit the local Diocese… ok, still that seems to not be moment of pride for the sanders family. College is still closed, bankrupted by Jane Sanders’ management.

    I’m going to be calling and writing Mr. Perez at the DNC to ask about a requirement that tax returns be released in order to participate in Democratic Party functions, like debates, elections, etc. I contributed a shit ton of money (for my budget, not a lot to a wealthy venture capitalist) to many Democratic candidates in the last two cycles, 2016 and 2018.

    I’ll be including that total number in my letter. He may not care, as none of that money went to the committees, but just straight to candidates.

  31. 31
    Barbara says:

    @J R in WV: It was arguably more than stupidly terrible management because she signed a statement to the bank attesting to the university’s possession of funds it didn’t actually have. The only twist here that might make the matter more difficult to prosecute is that there is no built in presumption that she was trying to defraud the bank based on any kind of personal gain on her part from the transaction. So the government would need to show something more to prove that she knew the college didn’t have the funds and intended to deceive the bank. It might not sound like a tall order but still, I bet she would be a good witness in her own behalf.

Comments are closed.