Sanders, Mullin get in back-and-forth over Vermont senator’s net worth during hearing

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, got into a heated back-and-forth with Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) on Wednesday over Sanders’s net worth as the panel questioned Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. 

“I take offense to the chairman pointing out that all CEOs are corrupt because they’re millionaires. … It’s bothering to me because, Mr. Chairman, you yourself have been very successful. Rightfully so. Glad you have. You’ve been in office for 28 years and you and your wife have [amassed] a wealth of over $8 million,” Mullin said of Sanders during the hearing. “If you can be a millionaire, why can’t Mr. Schultz and other CEOs be millionaires and be honest too?” 

The Oklahoma senator also took a knock at Sanders for his best-selling book as he defended Schultz from criticism.

“Why is it that Mr. Schultz, who actually creates jobs — a best seller of a book isn’t creating any jobs — why is it that he’s corrupt and you’re not? Why is it that all CEOs are corrupt because they’re wealthy? And yet our chairman, who is wealthy — and I’m glad you are — you’re not?” he asked Sanders.

Sanders parried back that Mullin had hit an “all-time record” of misstatements in his critiques. 

“You’ve made more misstatements in a shorter period of time than I have ever heard. Well, if I’m worth $8 million, that’s good news to me,” Sanders said. “I’m not aware of it. That’s a lie.” 

When Mullin countered that he’d learned the figure from public records, the committee chairman responded that he was “probably looking at some phony right wing internet stuff” and encouraged Mullin to “read beyond that.” 

Sanders has acknowledged that he hit millionaire status a few years ago, attributing his wealth to book sales. The Independent senator has long been critical of wealthy CEOs and billionaires in the U.S.

“Today in America, we have more income and wealth inequality than we’ve ever had with the top 1 percent owning more wealth than the bottom 90 percent, with CEOs now making 400 times more than their workers, and with 3 people on top now owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society. That’s the economic reality that exists today,” Sanders said in prepared remarks before the hearing.

Tags Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders HELP committee howard schultz Markwayne Mullin

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