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Sanders Misses Filing Deadline; Given More Time to Disclose 2016 Finances

  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee member Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. questions Environmental Protection Agency Administrator-designate, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, during the committee's confirmation hearing for Pruitt. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)



VtDigger
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Washington — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., missed the May 15 deadline to submit documents detailing his finances during 2016, the latest move from a politician who has shown an aversion to sharing personal financial information.

Meanwhile, Vermont’s other senator, Democrat Patrick Leahy, filed his report on time.

All U.S. senators are required to file annual reports with the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics, detailing their assets, liabilities and investments, as well as gifts and travel provided by private entities.

Sanders was granted a 20-day extension, and his disclosure is now due on June 4. According to Senate rules, extensions may be granted for up to 90 days.

Once filed, the 2016 report will shade in some of Sanders’ financial details during an exceptionally busy year for the senator, who ran an upstart bid for president before writing a best-selling book reflecting on the campaign.

Messages and emails left for three Sanders spokesmen seeking the reason he requested an extension were not returned.

Leahy filed his report on Monday, the day disclosures were due. Vermont’s senior senator reported no gifts, travel or other agreements with outside entities in 2016. Leahy listed his only outside position as a board member of the World Hunger Year, a nonprofit where he has served a role since 1978.

In his reportable assets, Leahy listed three life insurance policies, with Sun Life and Penn Mutual. The plans include individual plans for Leahy and his wife, Marcelle, as well as a joint plan.

Leahy also listed between $50,001 and $100,000 in assets held in a Merrill Lynch brokerage account that created between $201 and $1,000 of income last year. He also listed between $50,001 and $100,000 of assets in SHAPX, a stock portfolio of mostly medium and large U.S. companies. Marcelle Leahy also has a separate SHAPX account worth between $1,001 and $15,001.

In total, the Leahys hold between $154,000 and $360,000 in assets, excluding their homes in Vermont and Virginia. The two also share a mortgage of between $500,000 and $1 million that was incurred in 2012.

Senate financial disclosure requirements were instituted as part of the 1978 Ethics in Government Act.

Since 2012, Leahy has never missed a deadline or requested an extension, while online records show Sanders requested filing extensions on his 2012, 2014 and 2015 reports.

During his presidential run, Sanders bypassed two filing deadlines for his 2015 Senate financial report, and only after VtDigger requested documents from staffers was the report posted in early June.

The 2015 Senate report details more than 30 mutual fund investments in the name of Sanders’ wife, Jane, including three new investments not present in the 2014 report. The total value of the investments was somewhere between $191,000 and $815,000.

In his 2015 report, Sanders also reported as much as $50,000 in credit card debt and up to a $1 million mortgage.

During his presidential run, Sanders also avoided financial disclosure. The democratic socialist never filed the required financial disclosures with the Federal Election Commission. Sanders’ campaign requested — and was granted — three 45-day extensions from the FEC, effectively running out the clock until he ended his campaign and was no longer required to file documents.

According to a report from the Center for Public Integrity, “Sanders expertly exploited a system that effectively allowed him to delay, delay, delay — all while he chided (Hillary) Clinton receipt of six-figure paydays for delivering closed-door speeches to officials at investment bank Goldman Sachs and other powerful special interests.”

(Both Clinton and then-candidate Donald Trump filed the required presidential financial disclosures in May 2016 without asking for extensions.)

Sanders provided little financial information in his campaign for president, only releasing a partial tax return from 2014.