Bernie Sanders Raised $16 Million From the Unemployed

February 19, 2016, 1:33 PM UTC
Bernie Sanders Meets With Dreamers To Discuss U.S. Immigration Policy
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 07: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participates in an internet live stream discussion about putting families first in developing immigration policy at his campaign office December 7, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sanders heard from 'Dreamers,' undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents when they were children, members of the immigrant LGBT community, and a former hunger striker, all of whom asked the senator to support immigration reform. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Photograph by Chip Somodevilla–Getty Images

One of Bernie Sanders talking points on the campaign trail is that the “real” unemployment rate is much higher than the official 4.9% cited by the Labor Department, and he should know.

That’s because Sander’s biggest source of fundraising support comes from the retired or unemployed, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission, as reported by Bloomberg.

$16 million of the $73 million the candidate raised in 2015 came from individual donors who said they were without jobs, according to the report.

This group of people has good reason to support the Vermont Senator. He is proposing to expand Social Security, to the tune of $65 more per month on average, financed by raising payroll taxes on wealthy wage earnings. He’s also vowed to get the unemployed working again through a $1 trillion infrastructure plan the campaign says will create 13 million “good-paying” jobs.


The Sanders campaign has made much of the fact that almost two-thirds of its contributions have come from small donations of $200 or less.

Fortune has reached out to the Sanders campaign for comment and will update the piece if it responds.

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