MONTPELIER, Vt. — Federal investigators are looking into the finances behind a real estate deal for a now-defunct college put together by the wife of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, and she has hired a lawyer to look after her interests, a family spokesman confirmed on Monday.
The investigation, first reported by the news website Vtdigger.com, is looking into allegations that Jane O’Meara Sanders made fraudulent claims and promises while seeking $10 million in financing for the real estate deal.
The complaint against Jane Sanders was filed in early 2016 by attorney Brady Toensing, who served as the Vermont campaign chairman for Donald Trump during his run for president as a Republican. In a separate complaint, Toensing alleged that Bernie Sanders’ senatorial office pressured a bank to approve the loan.
Sanders, an independent, ran for president as a Democrat last year but was ousted in the primary by Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in the general election.
Asked about the allegations Monday at a Washington press conference on expanding community health centers, Sanders sought to keep the questions on health care.
“No, that’s not what I’m talking about today,” Sanders said when an Associated Press reporter asked about the FBI’s investigation.
The Sanders’ spokesman, Jeff Weaver, who was the senator’s 2016 presidential campaign manager, said the allegations that prompted the investigation were politically motivated attacks.
Toensing noted that the investigation began during President Barack Obama’s administration.