Former governor Howard Dean slammed attorney general candidate T.J. Donovan Wednesday for insinuating that opponent Bill Sorrell's campaign illegally coordinated an ad campaign with an independent super PAC.
During a brutally negative Burlington Free Press debate Tuesday, Donovan — the Chittenden County state's attorney — said he had heard "numerous complaints" of such coordination, but declined to provide any evidence. He did issue a stark warning to Sorrell, saying the incumbent attorney general "should be very careful about any alleged coordination that may have occurred" between Sorrell's campaign and the Committee for Justice and Fairness, noting that Sorrell's office has sought to prosecute other political candidates for similar crimes.
Funded principally by the Democratic Attorneys General Association, the Committee for Justice and Fairness super PAC has spent at least $184,000 on television ads and direct mail supporting Sorrell's reelection fight.
Asked Wednesday to elaborate on his boss' charge, Donovan campaign manager Ryan Emerson admitted the campaign has "no evidence to suggest that's true," but implied that Dean may have served as an "intermediary" between Sorrell's campaign and the super PAC. Dean, who appointed Sorrell to the attorney general post in 1997 and remains his highest-profile supporter, narrated the television ad produced by the Committee for Justice and Fairness.