Photo: Conservative Super PAC Funder Lenore Broughton Caught on Camera
It took all campaign season, but we finally got a photo of Lenore Broughton, the Burlington heiress who's bankrolling the conservative super PAC Vermonters First to the tune of $1 million this election.
Despite her outsize influence on state elections this year, Broughton keeps a low public profile. She declines every interview request she gets and has turned away numerous reporters looking for quotes from her front door this fall.
Prior to a recent Seven Days story and others that followed, there wasn't much known about her background or the source of her sizable fortune. And there don't appear to be any photos of her on the web.
Our last attempt to photograph the elusive Broughton didn't go so well. She walked away from a public meeting rather than be photographed. So we had to get a little more aggressive on the second try.
Seven Days hired freelance photographer Andy Duback to photograph Broughton at a public meeting of a board on which she serves. On Monday, Duback snapped this photo at Burlington City Hall as Broughton was getting on an elevator following the meeting. Along with being a member of the Burlington Telecom Cable Advisory Council, Broughton serves on the Burlington Board for Registration of Voters. That's the volunteer panel charged with maintaining Burlington's voter lists.
Board members also serve as poll watchers on election day, and Broughton is scheduled as a poll watcher in Ward 6 tomorrow at Edmunds Middle School — where candidates she spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting will be on the ballot.
The Board for Registration of Voters convened its monthly meeting Monday in city hall ahead of Tuesday's election, and Duback snapped the photo through the closing elevator doors as Broughton exited the public meeting. "She said I was awful. She said 'You're awful,'" Duback recounts. But she was in a public building and, due to her funding of the super PAC, Broughton has become a public figure and the subject of public interest.
Broughton was appointed to the Board for Registration of Voters by the Burlington City Council on May 7, 2012 — before she launched the super PAC. Her term extends through June 2014.
According to its annual report for 2011, the nine-member board is responsible for providing the city clerk with a certified entrance checklist for all local elections. And on election days in March, August and November, board members are stationed at each of the seven ward polling places; their job is to "assist voters in matters concerning voter eligibility, checklist corrections and address changes."
Photo credit: Andy Duback