US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the self-proclaimed Socialist, has no problem with other people footing his bills.
According to the Dailywire, Sanders visited a number of states as part of his campaign for the presidency. Cities in those states reported that he’s failed to pay $450,000 for security services used to protect him.
Cities in Ohio, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Washington have all reported that Sanders has failed to compensate them for security services rendered to his campaign in 2016.
Lachlan Markay, a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon, posted a tweet of Sanders’ outstanding debts saying “Bernie Sanders’ campaign still owes (a disputed) $450k to cities where he campaigned. Clinton and Trump, OTOH [on the other hand], have settled all 2016 debts.”
Bernie Sanders' campaign still owes (a disputed) $450k to cities where he campaigned. Clinton and Trump, OTOH, have settled all 2016 debts pic.twitter.com/Z5ClnE6BuG
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) September 12, 2017
Rob Pyers, a finance data guru for California Target Book, claims in a tweet showing Sanders unpaid bill that he has $5 million to pay from campaign donations, but hasn’t used it for the debts. “As Bernie returns to CA, $5M+ left in his campaign account Stiffs multiple CA cities for $327k in security costs.”
— Rob Pyers (@rpyers) September 11, 2017
The return trip Pyers refers to is a legislative push by Sanders to establish free universal health care through a single-payer health bill, according to Vox. The bill would see all US citizens required to be enrolled in Medicare within four years.
The bill eliminates all medical costs from those enrolled and requires the government to foot the bill. In order to do this, the government will establish a tax hike, estimated to be in the trillions of dollars.
The Medicare-for-All Act supposes that US citizens are entitled to free unlimited health care, apart from cosmetic nonessentials like plastic surgery. The belief is that Americans would be able to afford the tax hikes because they are no longer paying for medical expenses.
Despite not having a concrete plan on the table to pay for it, Sanders believes tax hikes and what money the government has should be able to pay for it, once again showing the dismissive attitude Sanders seems to have for fiscal responsibility and financial solvency. Surprisingly, a third of Democrats were happy to side with Sanders on the bill.
The intriguing thing about Sanders failing to pay his security debts is that he should, theoretically, be more than capable of paying for them, according to an article in Time. In 2016, Sanders was estimated to have earned more than $1 million, mostly from book royalties.
The biggest earner, Our Revolution, published a week after President Trump was elected, became a bestseller earning him $795,000. Apart from his book sales, Sanders earns $174,000 from his work as a senator.
Between the $1 million in personal income and the alleged $5 million left over from his campaign coffers, Sanders should easily be able to pay off the $450,000 he owes for the security services provided for him in the various cities he campaigned in.
Though it is possible that Sanders may be refusing to pay out of principle–he is after all a strong anti-capitalist who’s obsessed with income inequality and criticizes money’s role in politics–his political stance has also leaned towards an attitude of “somebody else should pay,” while being unsure of who or how.
Perhaps he’s intentionally not paying these debts, believing, like his voters, that someone with more money should pay for his expenses. It’ll be interesting to see if the city he visits in California will foot the bill again for his security detail knowing he probably won’t pay it.