Bernie Sanders’ Tax Returns Give Rise to Some Big Questions

Politico buries the lede with their headline about this important story, “Bernie Sanders’ wife accounts for all his reported assets.” The article begins by explaining that the all of Bernie’s assets are listed in his wife’s name and then goes on to explain that he is far less wealthy than most of his Senate colleagues, which fits into his narrative of “everyman” socialist. However, near the end of the article there is a more detailed explanation of the Senator’s financial wealth, which includes almost $1 Million in assets.

Sanders’ $174,000 salary as a member of the Senate was not listed on the form. The couple’s real estate assets are not disclosed, either. According to campaign spokesman Michael Briggs, the senator owns at least two homes, one in Vermont and one on Capitol Hill.

In his 2012 Senate personal financial disclosures, Sanders reported having a joint rental property in Burlington valued at $100,001-$250,000, for which he received $5,001-$15,000 in income. Also in 2012, he reporting a 30-year mortgage of $50,001-$100,000 for a condo in Washington, D.C., dating from 2000.

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The senator also indicated that he receives a yearly pension of $5,000 from his time serving as Burlington mayor. He donated all royalties from his 2011 book, “The Speech,” to charity, as well as an $850 appearance fee on political comedian Bill Maher’s HBO show, for a total of $1,867.

The question is this, how did “Bernie” [score]Bernard Sanders[/score], who has never had a “real” job (other than as a politician) and once lived in abject bohemian poverty, amass such wealth on a government salary? His wife’s income doesn’t seem to explain it either, as her career has been mostly as a school administrator in Burlington, Vermont.

The Libertarian Republic found some other discrepancies in previous Sanders tax filings.

What’s even stranger is that Sanders disclosed “over $50 million” in publicly traded assets and unearned income” on his financial form for the calendar year 2007. This raises questions — it’s a mistake not easily made when filling out a tax form. This does not indicate Sanders has $50 million, mind you, but it does indicate that he either counted his campaign for Senate as unearned income, made a significant typo, or something more suspicious is occurring.

Even if Sanders is only worth around $450k, his net worth has risen substantially throughout the past decade — by over 200% in total, or 29% annually. This makes Sanders way better off financially than most Americans, many of whom have seen their net worth shrink or barely grow when compared to the senator’s.

While Sanders may not be among the uber-wealthy politicians leading our nation, his financial disclosures do, at the very least, indicate that he has participated in that old political game of building wealth based on his ability to exert political influence. Sounds like every other corrupt politician we’ve read about.

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