Bernie Sanders released his 2014 tax returns this weekend, and in addition to having claiming massive mortgage interest and property tax deductions vastly outstripping the average American - and certainly the average Vermonter - the tax returns seem to confirm a dark open secret in the Sanders family: Jane Sanders personally financially benefits from shipping Vermont's toxic nuclear waste to be dumped elsewhere.
For a quick refresher, refer back to our coverage of Bernie Sanders' eager support for Congressional legislation to expedite movement of Vermont's nuclear waste to Texas as well as his cavalier disregard for Texans and Vermonters who opposed the dump. We reported then that though Congress did not designate a specific site, the Congressional record was abundantly clear on where the likely site of the dump would be, near the low-income Latino community of Sierra Blanca. The protests of many progressives, including Paul Welstone's, fell on Bernie Sanders' deaf ears. The community, however, stood up and fought back. And, they won.
Besides from being eager to make his state's nuclear waste someone else's problem in a hurry, TPV writer Kris Jirapinyo noted that Jane O. Sanders, Bernie Sanders' wife, conveniently sat on the Board of Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority, or TLLRWDA, the entity which technically held the power to designate the dump site.
That much we already knew. Now, in light of Bernie Sanders' release of his 2014 taxes, we know that that Bernie and Jane Sanders financially benefit from her position on a Board that participates in willful poisoning of communities despite ample warning. According to their own tax return, Jane Sanders "materially participated" in the board, and received compensation.
For a candidate who cannot breathe a full sentence without baselessly accusing his opponent of taking money from special interests, the discovery that he and his wife financially benefit from nuclear toxic waste dumping is... really... something.
But but! It's only $5,000. That's NOTHING!
Tell yourself that if it makes you feel better. If accepting only $5,000 to help out attempts to poison poor communities and communities of color makes the job any less disgusting, feel free to feel good that it was only $5,000.
But for the rest of us, Sierra Blanca is not a dead issue. The disregard Bernie Sanders demonstrated for a poor Latino community in Texas as he attempted, with what appears to be his wife's help, to ship the toxic waste from his state's nuclear power plants to Sierra Blanca is clear evidence that Bernie Sanders cares neither about the poor nor about minority populations. That he and his wife to this day financially benefit from that method puts a lie to Sanders' lip service to opposing nuclear power as well as to the idea that Bernie Sanders has any agenda but to aggrandize himself.