FBI probe into Sanders' wife started with 'hearsay'
© Greg Nash

The FBI's source for information that sparked a probe into the wife of Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersRealClearPolitics editor: Moderate Democrats are losing even when they win Sanders tests his brand in Florida Ocasio-Cortez slammed for banning press from public event MORE (I-Vt.) admitted this week that the information he passed along was hearsay, according to a local Vermont television station. 

The FBI is reportedly looking into whether Jane Sanders falsified loan documents while she served as the president of Burlington College. The small Vermont liberal arts school closed down in May 2016 after going bankrupt and failing to meet accreditation standards.

Brady Toensing, the lawyer who passed on the information to the FBI, reportedly got his information from Republican State Rep. Don Turner, who told WCAX-TV in Vermont that he heard the information from friends.

According to the report, Turner's friends who recounted the incident to him were working at the bank Jane Sanders allegedly pressured into approving a loan. Turner told WCAX-TV that he wouldn't have shared the information with federal officials.

Despite Turner's admission, it is not unusual for the FBI to look into tips of any kind, regardless of their origin. 

The FBI's probe has also since turned into a serious investigation.

Toensing pushed back against claims that the investigation is based on second-hand information this week, saying the FBI's investigation is "firmly based on facts and figures and analysis," not hearsay.

"In order to get those loans, she had to confirm guaranteed donations of $2.6 million," Toensing said. "Of that $2.6 million, the school was only able to collect about 25 percent ... and of the confirmed donations, three of the donors have come forward to say that the school overstated their pledge amounts."

{monads}Bernie Sanders confirmed that an investigation was underway against his wife last month, but slammed it as “pathetic” and “politically motivated.”

The Sanderses hired two top D.C.-based lawyers, Rich Cassidy and Larry Robbins, for the probe, which began in January.