U of M Political Pundit Rips Sanders in National Media

Bernie Sanders may be a socialist at heart. But questions swirling around the candidate’s abrupt shutdown of his family’s foundation indicate he has a ways to go in practice.

Local Bernie supporters will be dismayed to see the Associated Press featured a Minnesota political pundit as the chief critic of the Vermont senator in a story making headlines nationally recently.

The lack of transparency and the family ties have drawn criticism from good-government advocates.

“For a politician who runs on fairness and socialist principles, this looks like the old political games,” 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. “It’s a product of running a political operation in which family rules the roost.”

The benefits flowing from the family’s nonprofit operated by the Vermont senator’s wife and her son Don Driscoll raised accusations of hypocrisy. The liberal think tank refuses to disclose its donors and pays Driscoll a $100,000 salary.

The Sanders Institute, a think tank founded by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ wife and son, is shutting down, at least for now, amid criticism that the nonprofit has blurred the lines between family, fundraising and campaigning.

The Vermont-based institute has stopped accepting donations and plans to suspend all operations by the end of May “so there could not even be an appearance of impropriety,” Jane Sanders told The Associated Press.

It doesn’t help that Sanders attacked Hillary Clinton for her family’s foundation, albeit on a grander scale, before his family turned around and did the same thing soon after the campaign.

As a candidate in 2016, Sanders criticized Hillary Clinton over her family’s nonprofit, saying the foundation run by Clinton’s husband and daughter amounted to a back door for foreign leaders and others seeking to buy access and influence. The Sanders Institute could open the Vermont senator to charges of hypocrisy.

But just in case Bernie’s campaign comes up short again, Jane Sanders appears to be keeping their options open. The think tank “will not accept more money so long as her husband is a presidential candidate.”