Tag Archives: Michael Briggs

What’s with all the secrecy, Bernie?

Two recent stories on VTDigger raise further questions about a subject that ought to concern every open-minded Vermont liberal: Why is Bernie Sanders so secretive — and so defensive — about his personal finances?

The latest article explains how Sanders skated around federal disclosure requirements for presidential candidates. Federal law mandated disclosure by mid-May, but Sanders’ attorney requested a 45-day extension. When that was running out, he asked for another.

By the time the second extension was on fumes, Sanders had formally ended his presidential bid. No longer a candidate, no longer required to disclose.

The Sanders campaign requested the delays because Bernie was so busy, what with being a presidential candidate and a Senator and all. But four things about that:

— All the other candidates were also busy running for president, and presumably managed to file.

— Bernie wasn’t exactly spending much time on his Senatorial duties, what with skipping virtually every Senate vote from January to July.

— He had a fully-staffed, big-ass campaign operation. Surely someone could have been tasked with preparing the disclosure.

— as Sanders consigliere Michael Briggs said elsewhere in the story, the disclosure “would have looked pretty much the same” as his Congressional filings in past years.

But… if it would have been “pretty much the same”, wouldn’t it have been a breeze to prepare?

Sorry, I don’t buy it.

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Why won’t Bernie talk about his finances?

Big story on VTDigger a few days ago, detailing the weird secrecy around much of Bernie Sanders’ campaign spending.

The campaign funneled a cool $82 million through an obscure media-buying firm located in a suburban DC house. Old Towne Media LLC did the media buys for Sanders — despite having no track record to speak of. $82 million is roughly 40 percent of Bernie’s total campaign expenditures.

The ad agency, established in 2014, has almost exclusively served the Sanders campaign, and the company keeps a low profile. It has no website and no listed phone number. A full list of principals isn’t publicly available.

The principals of Old Towne are two longtime colleagues of Jane O’Meara Sanders who have worked on some of Bernie’s past re-election bids. But it’s a big leap from staffing a slam-dunk campaign in little old Vermont, to playing a crucial role in a bid for the presidency

But hey, perhaps Bernie values loyalty over experience.

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Bernie in the briar patch

Maybe it’s his decades of residence in lily-white Vermont. Maybe it’s his stubborn streak. Maybe it’s the overweening self-regard that inevitably develops in the mind of the successful politician. But Bernie Sanders is having an awful time getting over his “black problem.”

It’s gotten to the point where a possibly innocuous move like visiting Jesse Jackson takes on a “some of my best friends are black” vibe.

“Longtime friends, the senator and the civil rights leader held a very productive, hour-long meeting on important issues confronting the country and the African American community,” spokesman Michael Briggs wrote in the statement.

Err, Mike. Don’t try too hard with the “longtime friends” stuff.

Bernie ought to be the candidate of racial justice as well as the economic variety. But he can’t quite seem to find his footing after twice being challenged by “Black Lives Matter” protesters. The latest gaffe came Sunday on “Meet The Press”:

CHUCK TODD: Buzzfeed has an article out this morning. Headline is this: “Sanders Campaign Reaches Out to Black Lives Matter Activists.” Quote, “I apologize it took our campaign so long.” Tell me more about it.

BERNIE SANDERS: Well, that was sent out by a staffer, not by me. Look, we are reaching out to all kinds of groups, absolutely.

CHUCK TODD: I understand that but, you said a staffer put it out, but you felt an apology was necessary?

BERNIE SANDERS: No, I don’t. I think we’re going to be working with all groups. This was sent out without my knowledge.

Well, that’s just great.

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