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Jane Sanders’ daughter runs for Bernie’s old seat, amid college $$ controversy

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When Carina Driscoll announced she was running for mayor of Burlington – the local Vermont office her stepfather Bernie Sanders once held – she was determined to be her own candidate.

But the Sanders family ties have loomed large in the race, for better or worse.

On one hand, her campaign hopes to capitalize on the popularity of the state’s independent senator, with one ad calling her “Bernie’s daughter.” But another family connection could prove more problematic.

With the election coming up next month, Driscoll’s candidacy has been hit with controversy over a payment her business once received from the college her mother used to run.

Jane O’Meara Sanders was president of Burlington College from 2004 through 2011 – and from 2009 through 2012, the college paid about $500,000 to Driscoll’s Vermont Woodworking School.

“It speaks to the way she does business,” Carol A. Moore, Jane Sanders’ successor as Burlington College president, told Fox News, when asked if the deal reflects on the Driscoll mayoral race.

She accused Driscoll of gouging the college with a sweetheart deal awarded by her mother.

The college itself also has been in the headlines for months.

A federal grand jury has heard testimony regarding a $10 million loan to the school in 2010, and allegations the college overestimated its ability to pay the money back.

Jane Sanders left with a $200,000 severance. The college closed in 2016 unable to pay its debt.

Reached by phone, Driscoll campaign spokeswoman Elise Greaves told Fox News she would call back, but did not. Greaves didn’t respond to subsequent detailed voicemails about the topic of this story.

Driscoll did not respond to an email inquiry from Fox News sent to an address provided by the Vermont Woodworking School.

Carving Out a Deal?

The details of the partnership between Burlington College and the Vermont Woodworking School were first reported by VTDigger, with links to the college’s 990 forms. Later, other news outlets also reported on the controversial links.

The college paid out $500,000 to Driscoll’s business over the course of the partnership.

This Feb. 22, 2015 photo shows a building on the campus of Burlington College in Burlington, Vt. The college, formerly headed by Jane Sanders, wife of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, announced Monday, May 16, 2016, it is closing. The school has been struggling under the weight of its $10 million purchase of property and buildings during from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington that it made during her presidency. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

Jane O’Meara Sanders was president of Burlington College from 2004 through 2011.

 (AP)

“The partnership and the financial agreements were brought to the board by Jane Sanders and developed by Jane Sanders and Carina Driscoll,” said Moore, who presided over Burlington College’s 2016 demise and is now president of Columbia College in South Carolina. 

JANE SANDERS DEAL UNDER FBI SCRUTINY

Moore said the woodworking school could not have been financially sustainable without Burlington College, because it needed to be able to provide degrees in order to qualify for student financial aid. Driscoll’s woodworking school now has an agreement with Johnson State College.

As for the probe regarding the Burlington College finances, Moore said that when investigators from the FBI and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. talked to her, the woodworking school was “not directly” a topic.

She added, “Their focus was on the bank and loan, but they are looking at the full tenure of Jane Sanders at Burlington College and the financial workings or lack thereof.”

Driscoll’s campaign website touts that she founded the woodworking school in 2007, but the campaign does not mention Burlington College. Driscoll’s campaign site says she and her husband Blake Ewoldsen, along with their friend Bob Fletcher, founded the school.

“Carina had taken up woodworking as a hobby and the three founders identified a need for a school in Vermont, a place where craftsmanship and fine wood furniture-making was both an important part of our heritage and a dying art,” the campaign site says.

‘On My Own’

Driscoll is running as an independent in the March 6 election — with the endorsement from Vermont’s Progressive Party — challenging incumbent Democratic Mayor Miro Weinberger. Also in the contest is independent candidate Infinite Culcleasure.

When announcing her candidacy for mayor in December, Driscoll told Vermont newspaper, Seven Days, “It’s important to me that I enter this campaign on my own.”

Driscoll, who previously served in the Vermont state legislature and on the Burlington City Council, even vented to the paper, “I will never, ever get credit for fully completing anything on my own.”

For his part, Sen. Sanders said upon his stepdaughter’s announcement in December, “Today is Carina’s day, and her words and her ideas should be the focus, not anyone else’s.”

However, Driscoll later posted an ad on social media that says: “I am Bernie’s daughter, and am one of the thousands of people across this country inspired by Bernie to lead during this challenging time.”

Our Revolution, a political group that grew from the Sanders presidential campaign, endorsed her, with a tweet that said Driscoll “will push for more transparent government, protect community assets, and invest in Burlington schools.” The organization’s profile page on the candidate also linked to Driscoll’s fundraising page.

Weinberger has raised more than $80,000 compared to Driscoll’s haul of about $33,000, Vermont Public Radio reported in early February.

Weinberger’s spokeswoman Jordan Redell told Fox News the mayor would not be commenting for this story.



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Florida asks Supreme Court to let cruise ships sail again

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WASHINGTON — Florida urged the Supreme Court on Friday to block federal Covid restrictions that have vastly cut back the number of cruise ships operating from the state’s ports.

In an emergency appeal, the state said restrictions imposed by the Centers for Disease Control have made it very difficult for the industry to get going again, after it was shut down for nearly 16 months.

Federal rules now allow ships to board passengers if cruise lines meet such requirements as setting up Covid testing labs, running test voyages, maintaining social distancing, and establishing onshore housing for quarantining passengers.

The federal government said the rules were necessary with the United States in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that included several deadly outbreaks clustered on cruise ships. “These experiences demonstrated that cruise ships are uniquely suited to spread COVID-19, likely due to their close quarters for passengers and crew for prolonged periods.”

Now is not the time to put the rules on hold, the Justice Department argued, as the government works with the industry to get it going again — noting that the cruise industry did not join Florida’s lawsuit.

But the rules allow only a fraction of the normal number of ships to sail, the state said.

“The CDC’s order is manifestly beyond its authority,” Florida said. The federal law giving the CDC power to enact traditional quarantine measures “does not permit the agency to remake the entire cruise ship industry.”

The state said the restrictions have cost Florida tens of millions of dollars in lost tax and port revenue and required it to meet the additional expensive of paying unemployment benefits to cruise industry employees.

In June a federal court agreed with the state and blocked the CDC restrictions. U.S. District Court Judge Steven Merryday of Tampa, Florida, said the effort to impose the rules was “breathtaking, unprecedented, and acutely and singularly authoritarian.” He said he wondered whether the CDC would have argued that it could ban intercourse to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, put Merryday’s order on hold. Florida’s emergency motion asked the Supreme Court to lift that hold and allow the judge’s ruling to take effect.



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'This won't end well' Meghan and Harry warned of US backlash as Sussexes go against Queen

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PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle cannot hope to win in a popularity contest against the Queen, even among Americans, a former MP who is now based in the US has said.

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Tom Barrack, former Trump inaugural chair, released on $250 million bond

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Former Trump inaugural committee chair Tom Barrack on Friday was released from federal lockup in California on a $250 million bond ahead of his scheduled arraignment in New York on charges he acted as an agent of the United Arab Emirates and obstructed justice.

As part of the terms of his release, Barrack, 74, is subject to electronic monitoring and will have to foot the bill for his GPS ankle bracelet, Judge Patricia Donahue ordered, signing off on an agreement that had been worked out between the government and Barrack’s attorneys.

Barrack, a private equity investor and founder of the investment firm Colony Capital, also had to surrender his passports and is barred from transferring funds overseas, the judge said. He cannot trade any securities without written permission from federal prosecutors and is not allowed to transfer more than $50,000 except for attorneys fees.

He’s scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn, New York on Monday. His spokesman said earlier this week that Barrack “is not guilty and will be pleading not guilty.”

A longtime friend of former President Donald Trump, Barrack had been behind bars since his arrest Tuesday on charges that he and two co-defendants were “acting and conspiring to act as agents” of the UAE between April 2016 and April 2018, but without registering as foreign agents.

Prosecutors said Barrack and the others acted “to advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the United States at the direction of senior UAE officials by influencing the foreign policy positions of the campaign of a candidate in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and, subsequently, the foreign policy positions of the U.S. government in the incoming administration.”

Barrack was also charged with obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements to federal law enforcement agents.



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