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January 03, 2011

Corporations Line Up to Fund Shumlin Inaugural

LOGO_FINAL-small During the 2010 election, the future of Vermont Yankee, health care reform and expanding broadband were hot debate topics. Now, it's 2011 and judging by the list of top corporate donors to Governor-Elect Peter Shumlin's inaugural ball, those are still issues very much on the minds of regulated companies.

To wit, the state's two largest electric utilities — Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power — and the state's largest health insurer — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont — have chipped in $5000 each to fund what might as well be dubbed "Pete-a-palooza" since his inaugural festivities will occur over a period of three days at three locations.

In addition, two major phone carriers — AT&T and Fairpoint — have chipped in $5000, as did Vermont-based insurance giant National Life.

Other companies that donated $5000 include Bariatrix Nutrition, based in Vermont, and eSecLending, out of Boston, MA.

In the top tier, major Democratic donors David Blittersdorf and Bill and Jane Stetson also kicked in $5000 each. Jane Stetson is the national finance chairwoman for the Democratic Party.

Blittersdorf's support for Shumlin became a campaign issue with Republican Brian Dubie and his campaign alleging that Blittersdorf made campaign contributions in an effort to secure renewable energy tax credits. Blittersdorf denied the allegations and sued Dubie and Dubie's campaign manager Corry Bliss for defamation of character. That suit is still pending.

As promised, the Shumlin campaign is listing each of its major donors and regularly updating the list. See below for the list — as of noon today — of the major donors to Shumlin's inaugural. Ball proceeds will be donated to the Vermont National Guard Charitable Foundation.

In the two lower tiers — $2500 and $1000 respectively —  are several private companies that do business with the Agency of Human Services. They are: Policy Studies, Inc., which specializes in outsourcing human service work and Corrections Corporation of America, which houses Vermont inmates at private, out-of-state prisons. During the campaign, Shumlin said one priority would be to reduce Vermont's corrections budget by $40 million and invest much of that money in early education.

Other top donors include the Vermont Ski Areas Association ($2500), the Vermont Association of Realtors ($2500), Vermont Association of Credit Unions ($2500), and Country Home Products ($2500). Snowboard moguls Jake and Donna Carpenter ponied up $2500, while longtime environmentalists Phil and Crea Lintilhac gave $1000. Lintilhac has been a major proponent of shutting down Vermont Yankee in 2012, if not sooner. As has Blittersdorf.

Also in the $1000 tier are longtime Putney friends George and Laura Heller as well as Barbarina Heyerdahl, a board member of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, and Stratton and Associates, a government relations firm based in Colorado. Michael Stratton, one of its founders, is involved with the finance committee of the Democratic Governors Association.

The first inaugural event will be held in Brattleboro at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. Shumlin's southern homecoming event is being held because he's the first governor from Windham County since Gov. Thomas Salmon, a Rockingham Democrat, was elected to the top post in 1974. Red Heart the Ticker will be the special musical guest for the "Homecoming Reception," which begins at 6:30 p.m.

On inauguration day, the Shumlin team will host a "Winter Village on the State House lawn" from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. will include a mix of Vermont products and musicians. Three local musical acts will play during the Winter Village including: Red Hot Juba, Sara Grace and the Suits and  Pulse Prophets. The inaugural ceremony will also include performances by the Vermont Youth Orchestra's chorus.

The big bash is Friday night at Sugarbush. The ticketed event costs $50 per person, and is expected to sell out soon. Only 1000 tickets were being offered.

The night will include a collection of Vermont musical acts. The Vermont Inaugural All Stars will include: Dave Grippo, Brian McCarthy, Russ Lawton, Ray Paczowski, Bob Wagner, Lowell Thompson, D Davis and Jon Rogone. Sorry folks, no Phish or Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.


Central Vermont Public Service
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont
Bariatrix Nutrition
Green Mountain Power
National Life
Mr. David Blittersdorf
Bill and Jane Stetson


Kelliher Samets Volk
Sheehey Furlong & Behm PC
Vermont Ski Areas’ Association
Country Home Products
Vermont Association of Realtors
Jake and Donna Carpenter
Association of Vermont Credit Unions


Crea and Phil Lintilhac
Jeff and Evie Shumlin
George and Laura Heller
Mrs. Barbarina Heyerdahl
Mr. John Burt
Stratton and Associates
Main Street Landing
Casella Waste Services
Policy Studies Inc.
Corrections Corporations of America
Key Bank

Not to spoil an attractive soundbite, but I think this headline grossly exaggerates reality. The article fails to mention that the Shumlin Administration has said that all proceeds will be donated to the National Guard of Vermont Foundation.

Andrew: I did include that piece of information in the article.

Good Luck Governor Shumlin! You have one hell of hill to climb.

The last Governor from southern Vermont, Thomas Salmon, did not even have a governors ball when he won his second term (due to a recession) - something to think about considering what good all that money could do right now.

I will not be donating. Nor will I be partying in Putney, Brattleboro, Sugarbush, the State House Lawn, or any place else. I'll be working. Does nobody in Vermont actually work anymore? Oh, I forgot. This is the state of trust-funded flatlander elitists. We don't actually work here. That would be gauche.

David Blittersdorf (Big Wind & Big Solar), the Lintilacs (environmental activists), CVPS (rate hike, Chicago Climate Exchange), GMP (rate hike, Chicago Climate Exchange) will be there. Are the Growalds (Rockefeller) & Michel Guite(Telecom) expected to attend this three day festival of fools? And what of Howard Dean, Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy, & Peter Welsh? Will all the stars align? For the good of the planet?

Oh Murphy, you're such a hard worker. I bet no one works as hard as you. I doubt Peter Shumlin has ever worked a hard day in his life. Look man, keep crying in your miller lite that Doobie didn't win and that the GOP is finally on the sidelines of vt politics. Shay, really great reporting. I'm sure everyone is so excited to know the exact donation amounts of all the people who paid to put on the inaugural. That is excellent reporting. Pulitzer levels. Lastly, let's remember this is the last week we have to deal with Jim Douglas. Don't let the door hit you on the way out Jim.

Will this "inagural" party wrap up in time for him to lose the next election?

Dear 7D, please invest in proper software for your journalists - like word processing apps that have spellcheck - preferably ones that you can add proper names to. Maybe you could get a grant from the "Linthilhac" foundation.

It's true. Who is editing this mess of a blog?

Barkeep! A round of abuse for all my friends!

I'm editing this mess of a blog. Busted.

@ George:

"I doubt Peter Shumlin has ever worked a hard day in his life."

Dunno. I guess it depends on how you define hard work. Inheriting a business from your parents? How hard is that. If you define an entire post-college career of endless days of self-promotion as hard work, I guess you'd be wrong.

In today's Fair Game, the columnist responds to Shumlin's recent fundraising misstep by quoting Jim Condos (Democrat) suggesting that "solicitation screw-ups happen," and you point out that Douglas had a similar problem in 2009.

Yes, mistakes do happen. Fair enough. No disagreement on that point. I don't assume Shumlin knowingly broke the rule on this one.

But my question is, when it was Douglas's campaign that made the mistake, did Fair Game similarly defend Douglas's misstep then, by suggesting that mistakes happen? Or is it only when the one making the mistake is a Democrat that the "mistakes happen" defense gets pulled out?

Just wonderin.

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