Staff exodus at new Sanders-inspired political group

Even before Bernie Sanders could roll out a new organization to fund progressive candidates and causes, it was beset with high-level drama, including the en masse resignation of eight staffers.

Sanders (I-Vt) promised when he conceded defeat and endorsed Hillary Clinton for president that his dream would live on in a new organization called Our Revolution, which he unveiled in a live webcast Wednesday night.

The roll-out was anti-climactic. The organization was hit with a body blow when the eight staffers resigned before the announcement.

Our Revolution was set up as a tax exempt 501(c)4. That designation allows it to raise big donations from anonymous sources – so called dark money – something that staffers may have felt  clashed  with Sanders’ small donation ethos.

The mass resignation of staffers may also have been related to the hiring of Sanders’ former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, to head the new organization.

The New York Times reported that Our Revolution employees accused Weaver of “wasting money on television advertising…” instead of targeting young voters online, and charges that he mismanaged campaign funds.

Weaver stressed that Our Revolution “is an organization separate from Sen Sanders.  He does not control or direct it.  He is not on the board and not an employee.  We are obviously inspired by the progressive vision that Sen Sanders articulated during his historic presidential campaign.  But this is an independent organization.”

Sanders’ reputation has taken some other dings. The Vermont GOP  has written the Vermont Attorney General asking for an investigation of allegations Sanders exceeded Vermont’s $1500 contribution limit for state senate races.

“Sen. Sanders, who preaches against big money on politics, has used his five-million strong list in order to totally skew a local  senate race,” said Brady Toensing, vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party. “He ended up inserting a record amount of money into this local race.”

The senator and his wife also just made a cash purchase of a $600,000 vacation house on the banks of Lake Champlain, his third home.

Doug McKelway joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in November 2010 and serves as a Washington-based correspondent. Click here for more information on Doug McKelway

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