The Burlington College closure has a chance of causing trouble for the Bernie Sanders campaign, since his wife Jane played a key role in sinking the college under a mountain of debt. There are whispers of a federal probe, and now Seven Days’ Terri Hallenbeck reports that VTGOP Vice Chair Brady Toensing claims to have “new information” linking Senator Sanders to the case.
“I was recently approached and informed that Senator Bernie Sanders’ office improperly pressured People’s United Bank to approve the loan application,” Toensing said in letters to U.S. Attorney Eric Miller and to Fred Gibson Jr., the acting inspector general of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
There is cause for skepticism aplenty; Toensing is a Republican official, and he refuses to say anything more about his sources or his new information.
But there’s one more thing you should know, and Hallenbeck didn’t catch it.
Toensing’s letters were written on the stationery of DiGenova and Toensing, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm. Toensing is a partner in the firm, which is headed by his mother Victoria Toensing and his stepfather Joseph DiGenova.
Which is important to know because those two worthies are notorious conservative scandal-mongers. Here’s something I wrote back in 2013, when Brady Toensing offered his legal services to Jerry Dodge in that ill-fated East Montpelier land deal.
…suffice it to say that Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova spent the 1990s as part of the anti-Clinton Republican attack machine, and the 2000s as leading Bush Administration apologists on cable news. Most recently, Ma ‘n Pa have been trying to mountainize the Benghazi molehill on Fox News.
Just bear that in mind when you ponder the significance of Toensing’s pursuit of a Bernie scandal. He hasn’t personally dipped into the pool of conservative sleaze that his senior partners happily cavort in; but the complaint was issued from one of D.C.’s most notorious hives of scum and villainy.
I think there are lots of unanswered questions about Burlington College and Jane O’Meara Sanders’ culpability in its demise. And considering how closely Jane and Bernie collaborate on his presidential campaign, I wouldn’t put it past him to use his influence on her behalf when she was trying to pull off a multi-million-dollar land deal.
Still, presumption of innocence, and generally speaking Bernie doesn’t seem like a guy to take up residence in the ethical gray zone. In any case, just a fair warning that you shouldn’t believe a word that comes out of DiGenova and Toensing unless there is independent evidence.
Just curious: When did Toensing ever do something for the common good?
My name is Brady. I am a Vermont Republican and I read The VPO. It has been three days since I last checked this blog.
It would be a felony for me to submit a false letter with these allegations to the United States Attorney. I don’t take these allegations lightly. I am sure the BC students who have been thrown to the curb don’t either. Nor do the local, Vermont vendors who will now not get paid for the goods or services they provided to BC. The Washington Post, not exactly a conservative outpost, wants to know why the Senator won’t release his tax returns like every other candidate. I wonder why he has also delayed the release of his Senate Financial Disclosure Repory.
Brady: I never said your allegations were fale; jusr=t that peope should be informed and considr the source. If Bernie did, indeed, try to influence the bank, I hope you uncover the proof and he faces the consequences.
Right, Brady. This isn’t politically-motivated at all. And since the WaPo team has done everything they can to bring down the Sander’s campaign, it’s not surprising they will climb in the mud with the GOP. Let’s see you throw your weight advocating a legal probe against a public figure – at a time that such a probe doesn’t have the happy coincidence of bringing down a progressive leader (“a two-fer!”) – and your earnest statements of how ‘seriously’ you are taking this step just might be believable. I’m quite sure you loathe every policy position the Senator espouses – as do your contributors. No prosecutor worth his or her salt would base any action on your allegations.
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Also, why would anyone subject to judicial censure lie about something like that? Easier to come up with another scandal and let someone else play it.
Big problem with this story is that it sounds BELIEVABLE. More to the point, learning about how rude and abrasive and autocratic both Jane and Bernie are (and there are stories aplenty out there–none of them calling either one of them Sweetness and Light) I can believe that Jane, who bullied staff at BC, went off the rails in a fit of grandiosity and made that stupid deal knowing full well she didn’t have the cash (but hoping she could turn BC into Reed, or something) and Bernie, whipped as he is (why?? But he clearly is…) who was so nasty to his staff that some of them quit in protest and who has a reputation for being abrasive to his fellow Senators/congressmen, did EXACTLY what was alleged.
And, for the record, I started out as undecided in this contest. I supported Bernie briefly, but the more I hear about him, the more unpleasant facts I learn about him. He has not been properly vetted, and if he ever became our nominee (thank god that won’t happen) he would be EATEN ALIVE by the GOP. A thrice-married Republican with an ex-prostitute “model-not-super” with fake boobs and enough botox to freeze half the faces in Hollywood doesn’t overcome some of the bonehead stupid crap that Sanders has said, written, and proudly gone on tv to espouse. He’s a JOKE, And he’s a cautionary tale–people who want to run as Democrats should have to BE Democrats–not try to tear the party apart. And that is what he is doing, which is why I’ve gone from “Future to Believe in ” to “I think this guy is crazy and has no future, and I don’t believe a thing he says.” I’m voting for Clinton–far better the sane “establishment” candidate than the candidate who has been sitting on his well fed behind for thirty-plus years among his “establishment” peers, living large and cashing his check every month. He’s a phony and I;m sorry I was duped for even a moment.
A “joke”. Huh. Well, when not one but two of the late Cesar Chavez’s family are meeting with the Senator and endorsing his candidacy – while he visits Forty Acres Park in California – they certainly don’t consider the man to be “joke” or “crazy”. Far from it. But perhaps you don’t know who Cesar Chavez was?
Sorry, H. Wood, but that’s inauthentic. It sounds like something an unemployed single 34-year-old wrote in his parents’ basement. If Bernie was even one-quarter as bad as you try make him appear, he wouldn’t have gotten a second term as Mayor of Burlington, much less to Congress. You don’t have substance behind your presentation.
Tightywhities-in-a-knot much? My my how the Bernie-ites do wax persnikety. H Wood comment may be some things however “inauthentic” is not one of them imho, in fact even as a #neverhillary personally enjoyed the rant. I can see it both & many ways b/c I have also been critical of Bernie & still am. Supporting someone does not mean blowing kisses at them or the ground they walk upon-discredit where due.
Of late my support has been stronger as he is now facing the hellish headwind of powerful machine politics aided & abetted by stragetically placed Clinton accomplice DWS. Former Clinton campaign manager continues the role and for all intents & purposes still a Clinton staffer. Hope she is shitcanned for serving the Clintons & not the party or the Dems.
What *is* inauthentic are party hacks of all stripes who dot the blogosphere and couldn’t conjure an original comment that does not continually cheerlead party platform to save their life. Sychophantic apparatchiks on-message at all times mindlessly mouthing the predictible mumbojumbo handed down from party headquarters got old real quick.
I agree with H. Wood, and fortunately so does the majority of Americans who have voted in this country thus far. When you accuse of inauthenticity, I think that you better weigh in on the fact that Bernie has been an Independent his whole career and now, in the past year, he becomes Democrat!!! Why??? Because he said that he felt that it bettered his chances of winning the election. What an irresponsible and ignorant thing to do! But, then there is the moral issue of lying about who you are. It is one thing to lie about events, or about what you did or didn’t do…but it is a greater transgression to blatantly lie about who you are.
Well said Anita
I am a minor officer in a Vermont town’s Democratic committee, and it has been my experience that the Democratic party has a big tent which accommodates Bernie perfectly. Our tent is so large that it also accommodates– although just barely– one Brooke Paige, who I hope is invited to our candidates’ forum next month.
The national party accommodated the Koch brothers quite willingly as they funded the Democratic Leadership Council which gave us the neoliberal Bill Clinton in the 90’s and torpedoed conservative Howard Dean’s run for the presidency.
Bernie believes in the Second Bill of Rights, announced by FDR the year before he died, today a sound prescription for an ailing country. He’s bringing America back to the socialism which not only meets Americans’ needs for work, respect and education but won WWII as well. The Democratic Party needs to join Bernie.
Also, you tipped your hand when you said, “he becomes Democrat!!!” A true Democrat is sensitive to the proper use of the noun Democrat and the adjective Democratic.
Oh come on. Jump the gun much sir? Looks like another case of knotted tighty-whities. According to your logic the very uttering of the word “Democrat” is prejorative. Context in comment is used as a noun with a tiny typo.
– Exhibit A
Anita: “When you accuse of inauthenticity, I think that you better weigh in on the fact that Bernie has been an Independent his whole career and now, in the past year, he becomes Democrat!!!”
– Exhibit B
Chuck Gregory: “Also, you tipped your hand when you said, “he becomes Democrat!!!” “A true Democrat is sensitive to the proper use of the noun Democrat and the adjective Democratic”.
Don’t know what the crime is here but dare say there are those who vote Dem who are regular ppl, working-class folks not news junkies, party loyalists, politically oriented or insider-club members, not privy to the shibboleths & don’t know the secret handshake. I’ve voted Dem for half my life, parents were Dem, active in the local party and they never knew either.
We don’t know what we don’t know. PC police borderline ridiculous, are not reflecting well or helping the party & why so many hate politics. Looks like there are quite a few who still have not gotten the memo as term still used innocuously by ppl who obvously vote Dem like the commenters here, may I suggest a more vigorous outreach program.
Thank You for the acknowledgement of my returning to my Democratic roots. My grandparents were Democrats and always spoke warmly about FDR and his achievements when I was a youngster.
As I am sure you are aware, this is my second effort to secure the Democratic nomination for Governor and Attorney General. My first effort was largely ignored by the party, the pundits and by the press – with the notable exceptions of: the Mitchell’s Vermont Press Bureau, the Caledonian, the Brattleboro Reformer, the Stowe Reporter / Waterbury Record, Vermont Public Radio and CCTV Channel 17 .
Clearly, the party is aware that I am running in the primary, having announced last June (2015) and was the first to submit my petitions last month. I am always willing to participate in any campaign event that I am invited to though I feel it is inappropriate to demand to be included in events when I am not invited to participate. One would think that folks would be interested in hearing from a conservative Democrat, if only to provide a contrast to the more liberal standard bearers.
As to your question about my inclusion in upcoming candidate forums – I was not invited to the Windsor Co. Forum (and now cannot participate due to a scheduling conflict), however I have been invited to the Addison Co. forum on June 14, though it is unclear if I was invited as a participant or a guest.
Thanks for the mention, please introduce yourself when we cross paths on the campaign trail – I’m generally easy to spot – just look for the overdressed fellow with the hat !
H. Brooke Paige
Democratic Candidate for Vermont Governor and Attorney General – 2016
Thank you for this. I always love the quiet voice of reason.
As a test of how just big the Democratic Party is, teabagger Brooke Paige is running as a Democratic candidate for governor. How much do you want to bet he won’t be invited to the Democratic gubernatorial candidates’ forum in Springfield?
A “Tea Bagger” Really ? Since I have never been branded a “tea bagger” before I headed to the (electronic) dictionary to find out what I was being called:
tea*bagger – 1. (slang, vulgar) A person who practices teabagging, i.e., the sexual act of inserting the scrotum into someone’s mouth. (neologism, often derogatory) 2. An affiliate of the Tea Party movement, or a supporter of its protests and/or ideology..
WELL – I’m really hoping you were going for the second definition which I guess stands for “taxed enough already” – which I guess I agree with however these folks have regularly attacked me for my pragmatic (realistic) approach to tax revision i.e. eliminating non-productive tax breaks (especially for the wealthy and corporations), taxing the cloud to “level the playing field” for brick and mortar businesses and eliminating regressive tax policies which punish the working poor.
In any case, yes I would love to be invited to the Springfield event – I can promise that I will not be another “pea in the pod” democrat fighting to differentiate myself from my opponents. I am a “Classic Liberal” and proud of it – though the Washington Post tells me I should say that I am a post-neoclassic liberal and that I should add that I am also a “Pre-Constitutional Originalist” – all of which is true I guess?
Before anyone gets too excited lets agree on the terms:
Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties and political freedom with representative democracy under the rule of law and emphasizes economic freedom.
Pre-constitutional Originalism – holds that interpretation of the U.S. Constitution is (or should be) consistent with what was meant by those who drafted and ratified it and that interpretation of the Constitution should be based on what reasonable persons living at the time of its adoption would have understood the ordinary meaning of the text to be.
So lets hope the folks organizing the events really are interested in hearing the entire spectrum of Democratic ideas both Classic Liberal and Contemporary Liberal !
H. Brooke Paige
Democratic Candidate for Governor and Attorney General – 2016.
Mirror mirror much? “Tea Bagger” the same hate-spewing insulting pejorative, actually much more so, than calling a Democrat “Democrat”. No wonder politics are so despised. *Sigh*.