Bernie 2016 Returns 200+ Donations to Remedy Campaign Finance Issues From 2015

Over 200 contributors to the Bernie Sanders campaign will have their money refunded as a result of irregularities with its campaign fund-raising committee during 2015. The refunds are detailed in a response to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) sent by Susan Jackson, Treasurer of Bernie 2016 and dated March 17, 2016. Jackson was answering a FEC notice regarding the 2015 Year End Report of Bernie 2015.

See FEC Finds $23 Million Unitemized Contributions in Bernie 2016 PAC for details on the FEC notice.

In her electronically-filed response, Jackson covers the ten items noted in the FEC letter, including $23 million in unitemized contributions, various accounting discrepancies, excessive campaign contributions and prohibited donations from Foreign Nationals.

The response by Susan Jackson can be accessed at this page on the FEC website under “View Miscellaneous Document.”

Jackson stated that “the excess portion of each contribution has been refunded” for over 100 contributors who were allowed to donate over the limits of campaign law. Each contributor’s name and the amount returned is itemized. These amounts range from a few dollars to several hundred to highs of over $2000 each.

The issue of prohibited contributions from foreign nationals was not entirely resolved. While Jackson listed a number as verified U.S. Citizens or Permanent Resident Aliens, another 106 contributors were not verified. The Bernie 2016 committee has returned these donations as well, although refund amounts will not be itemized until its April 2016 report to the FEC.

Jackson noted that amended reports would be supplied to remedy campaign finance problems in a number of other areas.

As for the $23 million in Unitemized Contributions spotted by the FEC , Jackson responded with this brief statement:

Regarding the un-itemized receipts listed on Line 17(a)(ii) of the Detailed Summary Page, the Committee hereby confirms that the aggregate total for the election cycle for each un-itemized contribution included in the Line 17(a)(ii) total is under the applicable $200 threshold.

The returned contributions will have some impact on the Bernie Sanders campaign, which spent heavily on operations as it closed out 2015. Its $96 million in receipts was reduced to just $14 million at the start of February 2016.

The fund-raising committee is also facing another round of possible refunds from its January 2016 report. The FEC found similar irregularities with unitemized receipts and donations from Foreign Nationals.

Read details on Bernie 2016 fund-raising issues for January 2016.

See “Money In, Money Out” for a look at Bernie 2016 campaign disbursements.

See “Buying the Revolution” for a description of the Sanders’ high-priced digital campaign machine, Revolution Messaging.


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