Sen. Bernie Sanders delivered a speech on the Senate floor last night regarding Republicans’ health care plan, June 20, 2017.
Courtesy Office of Sen. Bernie Sanders
Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this story was unclear about the roles of Brady Toensing. Toensing is current vice chairman of the Vermont Republican Party and former head of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in the state.
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Facing more questions about Burlington College, Sen. Bernie Sanders is denying that his office exerted any pressure to help secure a loan for the small liberal-arts school once led by his wife.
Appearing Thursday night on MSNBC, the Vermont independent and former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination responded directly to allegations from a prominent Republican lawyer regarding the senator’s involvement in helping Jane O’Meara Sanders secure financing for the now-shuttered college.
“That is an absolute lie,” Sanders told journalist Chris Hayes, host of the show All In. They spent the bulk of the seven-minute segment discussing health care.
Lawyer Brady Toensing, vice chairman of the Vermont Republican Party and former state campaign director for Donald Trump’s successful bid for the presidency, filed complaints with various federal agencies last year against Jane Sanders. At issue is a land deal she helped broker in 2010 for Burlington College to buy the former headquarters of the state Roman Catholic Diocese in Burlington for $10 million.
Burlington College received a bank loan for the purchase. Jane Sanders said increased college enrollment and pledged donations would help pay for the land deal, but neither materialized. She left the college in 2011. In May 2016, Burlington College officials said the school was closing under the “crushing weight of debt,” mostly from the property purchase.
A Toensing complaint in May 2016 claimed he was “recently approached and informed” that Bernie Sanders’ senatorial office pressured the bank to approve the loan. But the document offered no information about what is said to have occurred or who the source was of Toensing’s information.
Hayes asked Sanders about that claim…