Bernie Sanders Drives $170,000 Audi R8 Sport Car-Fiction! 

Summary of eRumor:

Photos show Bernie Sanders driving a $172,000 Audi R8 sport car that he purchased with donations to his 2016 presidential campaign.

The Truth:

An unidentified man with a passing resemblance to Bernie Sanders has been incorrectly identified as Bernie Sanders driving an Audi R8 by anonymous users of 4chan, an online forum known for disinformation campaigns.

The post, which surfaced on March 30, 2017, includes a photo of a man who looks similar to Bernie Sanders driving an Audi R8 with a comment that makes a passing reference (without providing any proof) that Sanders bought the $170,000 sport car using campaign funds:

Bernie Sanders Audi R8
Bernie Sanders Audi R8 claims started with a post at 4chan that was likely meant to be a joke.

Almost immediately, people commenting on the post acknowledged that it was meant as a joke. Others, however, began posting follow-up images that they claimed proved that the man behind the wheel of the Audi R8 was, in fact, Bernie Sanders. One such user posted a photo of an Audi R8 behind what the user described as a Sanders’ campaign vehicles that featured prominent images of the Vermont senator’s face:

Bernie Sanders Audi R8
4chan users used unrelated photos to back up the Bernie Sanders Audi R8 claim.

Those images actually show vehicles driven by the group “Black Men for Bernie,” a group that endorsed Bernie Sanders in 2016 campaign with the stated purposed of encouraging black men to “come together, join the fight with others, and take responsibility for their families and communities.” Members of the group drove vehicles and hosted pro-Sanders events, but Black Men for Bernie was not connected to Sanders’ official campaign — and there’s no indication that Sanders followed the group’s motorcade in an Audi R8.

Other 4chan users tried to pass off an image of Bernie Sanders standing next to a red Tesla electric car as a photo of Sanders and the Audi R8. The photo was taken from Sanders’ official website, and it doesn’t show an Audi R8.

Bernie Sanders Audi R8
A photo from Bernie Sanders’ official website shows the Vermont senator looking under the hood of a Tesla electric car — not an Audi R8.

In reality, the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) has stringent rules about how leftover campaign funds can be used when a candidate like Bernie Sanders ends a White House bid. Needless to say, buying a $172,000 Audi R8 is not among them. Candidates can apply the balance to a future campaign, or donate it to a charity or political party.

Bernie Sanders had about $6 million in the bank by the time his presidential campaign ended in July 2016. It’s not clear exactly how Sanders spent that money, but Sanders led a final fundraising push before conceding the race to Hillary Clinton, saying that he was seeking donations to send 1,900 delegates to the Democratic National Convention to help support Sanders’ platform, Elite Daily reports:

Sanders’ campaign fired off multiple fundraising requests to supporters on Thursday, ahead of the Federal Election Committee’s final fundraising deadline. “We’re going to the convention,” one email declared, referring to the Democratic National Convention later this month.

“When our delegates gather in Philadelphia, they’ll have the chance to put the Democratic Party on the record about stopping votes against the TPP, fighting for a $15 federal minimum wage, opposing fracking, and so many more progressive priorities,” Sanders’ campaign manager wrote to supporters on Thursday night

“Our campaign has earned the right to send almost 1,900 delegates to vote on these important issues, but many of them are working folks and the costs of attending the convention are too high,” read another email. “So I want to help them get there, because this campaign isn’t about Bernie Sanders, it’s about all of us.”

In the end, the Bernie Sanders Audi R8 claim was based on one photo of a man with a passing resemblance to Sanders driving an Audi R8. Beyond unrelated photos and unsourced claims, there’s nothing to indicate Sanders bought an Audi R8 using $172,000 in leftover campaign funds. That’s why we’re calling this one “fiction.”

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Collected on: 06/19/2017