Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ struggle to become the Democratic front-runner in the 2020 presidential election seemingly hit a major speed bump this week, as the Federal Election Commission issued a document with 69 pages of problematic donations to his campaign.
The FEC letter, dated Aug. 28, “requests information essential to full public disclosure” of Sanders’ federal election campaign finances.
“Failure to adequately respond by the response date noted above could result in an audit or enforcement action,” the letter warns.
With an Oct. 2 deadline, Sanders has a little over a month to account for the 69 pages of “apparent excessive, prohibited, and impermissible contributions.”
Far from the small, grassroots donations that Sanders prides himself on, the document reveals plenty of contributions that exceed $1,000.
As things currently stand, although many of the fishy contributions to his 2020 campaign that were listed in the FEC letter were for $27, the frequency with which some people gave the amount is shocking.
One flagged donor gave the campaign more than two dozen donations in a roughly three-month period, each of them totaling $27. Others named in the document appeared to use the same tactic, with another contributor filling 20 pages of the report with almost exclusively $3 donations.
Dave Levinthal, a federal politics and campaign money expert at the Center for Public Integrity, noted that although the FEC often flags political campaigns for accounting issues, a 69-page request is uncommonly large.
2/ While it’s not uncommon for the @FEC to flag presidential candidates for such accounting issues, particularly those campaigns that raise a ton of money, 69 pages is a lot.
— Dave Levinthal (@davelevinthal) August 29, 2019
This isn’t Bernie’s first brush with the FEC, either.
During his 2016 campaign, Sanders was flagged with a jaw-dropping 639-page list of potential violations, according to The Atlantic. And while all of these FEC documents don’t accuse Bernie or his campaign of illegal activity, they reveal a potentially deeper problem.
Sanders, who is literally campaigning for a job to manage 330 million people, the world’s largest economy and a nuclear arsenal, is seemingly unable to handle a donor list.
While other campaigns do sometimes receive these FEC notices, the frequency and size of Sanders’ missteps might give even die-hard Bernie fans reason to reconsider their loyalties.
Sanders’ ambitions are undeniably grandiose. Canceling student debt, providing health care for all, implementing major reforms on Wall Street and taking massive steps toward a Green New Deal are all things the democratic socialist aims to tackle.
Before Sanders tries fixing the world, however, he should probably prove to America that he can correct his own donor rolls first.
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