Vermont Right-Wingers Threaten Bernie Sanders With 'The Legal Letterhead'
May 30, 2016

Brady Toensing is a partner in the law firm, diGenova & Toensing, in Vermont. He's also vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party. Now, taken separately, both positions are relatively harmless. In combination? Well, I leave that to the reader to decide.

Last week Toensing sent letters, on legal letterhead no less, to both the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, and to Senator Bernie Sanders.

In the letter to the US Attorney, he's asking for an investigation of a loan to the now closed Burlington College. He writes:

As a result of my complaint, I was recently approached and informed that Senator Bernard Sanders' office improperly pressured People's United Bank to approve the loan application submitted by the Senator's wife, Ms. Sanders. Improper pressure by a United States Senator is a serious ethics violation.

In the letter to Sanders, Toensing, demanded from Sanders and his wife, Jane, any and all documents related to the bank loan, as well as his wife's financial agreement on termination, on the behest of some seemingly random Catholic living in Burlington.

Now, let's take a deep breath and realize that this is all bollocks.

I'm not a lawyer, but one doesn't need to be a lawyer to realize how... irregular this all is. Toensing sends a letter to the US Attorney's office implying someone has information about Senator Sanders improperly pressuring a bank, but doesn't contact said US Attorney directly in order to give him the specifics. He says he wants an investigation, but any investigation that would be happening would be compromised by releasing the letter to the public.

Toensing then turns around, and in the letter to Sanders, notes that this investigation is in the news and therefore Bernie and his wife must come clean. Of course, we know the "investigation" is in the news, because Toensing has gone to the press and ensured it has copies of his letters, with their implication of an investigation. An investigation, by the way, which the Catholic Church has emphatically stated it wants no part of.

Then he slams down the old reliable, "you may be called as witnesses", which is lawyer-speak for "let's intimidate these people without actually making a claim that we're going to file a lawsuit, since we know we really aren't."

It's called threat by letterhead.

If there was any kind of investigation, it would arise from the bank. As noted in a September, 2015 article in the VTDIgger, such action is unlikely. If there were ethical concerns about Senator Sanders, these concerns would be properly addressed to the US Senate, not a US Attorney. If there were any chance of a lawsuit, it would have to come about because of a request by an injured party, not some random Catholic in Burlington.

This election year is already a mess. We don't need to be distracted by amateurs. File this one under "piffle".

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