Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

NOTE: Blurt has been retired and is no longer updated regularly. For new content, follow these links:

OFF MESSAGE: Vermont News and Politics
BITE CLUB: Food and Drink Blog

103 posts categorized "Election 2010" Feed

April 04, 2012

Douglas Flies To The Rescue Of "Copilot" Dubie

Dubie copilotDuring their eight years serving together in Vermont’s top elected offices, former governor Jim Douglas often referred to his lieutenant governor, Brian Dubie — a commercial airline captain — as his copilot.

Last night, during the latest of his regular Vermont Public Radio commentaries, Douglas flew to Dubie’s rescue, arguing that his copilot should not be held personally liable for misdeeds allegedly committed by his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

“The cost to Brian and his family of defending himself has become steep,” Douglas told VPR listerners. “And I can only assume that a protracted lawsuit such as this one — years after the campaign is over — will only discourage other decent and hardworking people from running.”

In December, the Vermont attorney general’s office sued Dubie and the Republican Governors Association for allegedly violating campaign finance laws by illegally coordinating campaign activities with one another. According to the complaint, Dubie’s campaign shared $93,000 worth of polling information with the RGA, which then used the data to produce $242,000 worth of television commercials on Dubie’s behalf. Those figures, if counted as in-kind contributions between the two entities, exceed legal limits.

Reached at his Middlebury office Wednesday, where he is serving as an "executive in residence," Douglas elaborated on his commentary, arguing that it’s fine for the attorney general to sue a political committee, but it shouldn’t sue a former candidate unless he or she personally broke the law.

“There’s lots of criminal and civil actions against candidates and parties and political entities, but targeting someone personally is what’s different here,” Douglas said. “Targeting an individual and putting them through a very emotionally and financially draining experience isn’t fair. The state has unlimited resources. It’s out of your pockets and mine.”

Continue reading "Douglas Flies To The Rescue Of "Copilot" Dubie" »

October 06, 2011

Vermont Judge Rules Against Republican Governors Association

Gavel For the second time this year, a Vermont judge has ruled against an out-of-state political action committee — saying the PAC's spending in the 2010 election violated state law.

Today, Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford ruled that political ads run by the Republican Governors Association last year violated the state's campaign finance laws because the group failed to register with the Secretary of State's office and failed to adhere to Vermont's campaign contribution limits.

In July, Crawford ruled that a Democratic Governors Association PAC — Green Mountain Future — violated state law by running ads that attacked GOP candidate Brian Dubie, and failed to register with the Vermont Secretary of State's Office. The group argued that it was legally set up as a so-called 527 group and therefore didn't need to register with the state. Crawford rejected that argument. (Read both judicial decisions below.*)

The DGA-financed group spent more than $500,000 attacking Dubie. The RGA and an affiliated committee shelled out a cool $900,000 in the ad wars.

Continue reading "Vermont Judge Rules Against Republican Governors Association" »

February 24, 2011

Judge Orders Hearing on Legality of Vermont's Campaign Filing Deadlines

Trudell An independent candidate who last year challenged the constitutionality of Vermont's campaign filing deadlines received some good news Wednesday from Washington Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford.

Crawford ruled there are enough open questions — and little legal precedent on the books to answer them — to necessitate a hearing on whether Vermont's newly-adopted election filing deadlines hamper access to the ballot by independent candidates.

Two days of hearings will be held after mid-May, Crawford stated in his ruling.

Last year independent candidate for U.S. House Jerry Trudell (pictured right) sued the state for denying him access to the general election ballot.

The Secretary of State's office has asked Crawford to dismiss the case, but he refused. Assistant Attorney General Megan Shafritz told Seven Days the state was still reviewing Crawford's ruling and was unsure if it would try to appeal it — or simply press forward and prepare its case.

"We just got the opinion in this morning and we're still digesting it and have to review it with the Secretary of State's office before we decide our next steps," said Shafritz. "The court did appear to indicate that the factual record needs to be filled out a bit more before it could prepare for a decision."

Continue reading "Judge Orders Hearing on Legality of Vermont's Campaign Filing Deadlines" »

February 09, 2011

Bill Would (Almost) End Anonymous Campaign Donations

Jeff Wilson



Last fall, Seven Days told you about the flood of secret campaign donations collected by the candidates running for governor. Vermont law permits small-dollar donors — those contributing $100 or less to a candidate — to remain anonymous. And the five Democrats and one Republican running for Vermont's top job raked in small fortunes from unnamed donors.

As of August 25, 2010, five candidates (four Dems and the sole Republican) had collectively raised $423,812 from 7759 donors who gave $100 or less — meaning that fully 14 percent of the $2.9 million raised in the governor's race up until that point came from unnamed individuals.

Republican Brian Dubie had the most ($147,263), followed by Democrats Deb Markowitz ($123,792), Doug Racine ($73,696) and Matt Dunne ($51,142). Peter Shumlin, the eventual big winner, had grossed $27,919 from 479 low-dollar contributors. Susan Bartlett's campaign couldn't supply the data.

For Democrats in a crowded primary, the law proved especially helpful: rank-and-file Dems leery of taking sides publicly could donate small amounts discreetly to their favored candidate, or candidates, without pissing off the others by having their name appear on a public report.

Now a second-term state representative from Manchester, Democrat Jeff Wilson (pictured), has proposed a bill that would change that rule — and require any donor who gives more than $10 to a candidate to be named in public disclosure reports. Introduced yesterday, H.199 would lower the disclosure limit from $100 to $10 — meaning anyone donating $9.99 or less could still remain anonymous.

Continue reading "Bill Would (Almost) End Anonymous Campaign Donations" »

January 04, 2011

Dubie and Former Campaign Manager Settle Lawsuit

Blittersdorf A Vermont businessman has dropped a lawsuit against Republican Brian Dubie and his campaign manager Corry Bliss after the pair wrote letters of apology for statements made during the heat of the gubernatorial campaign.

David Blittersdorf, who founded NRG Systems and AllEarth Renewables, filed a lawsuit in the waning days of the 2010 election, alleging that Dubie and Bliss were defaming his character by repeating unproven allegations that he made campaign contributions in order to receive tax credits.

Blittersdorf was a major supporter of now Governor-Elect Peter Shumlin. He donated thousands of dollars to his campaign personally and through the businesses he controls. Recently, Blittersdorf donated $5000 to underwrite Shumlin's inaugural ball.

In the week before the election, Blittersdorf personally asked Dubie to drop repeated claims that Blittersdorf provided campaIgn contributions to Shumlin in exchange for a seat on a board that eventually provided his firm with $4.3 million in tax credits. Instead, Dubie's campaign released a letter from Blittersdorf's attorney and repeated the accusations. It was then that Blittersdorf filed his lawsuit.

On Tuesday, both Bliss and Dubie submitted letters of apology to Blittersdorf.

"I am sorry that in the heat of the closing days of the campaign I did not find time to sit down with you as you requested to address your concerns," Dubie wrote. "We have known each other for many years and I sincerely hope you understand that it was never my intention to suggest you acted unethically in any way."

Continue reading "Dubie and Former Campaign Manager Settle Lawsuit" »

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.

Continue reading "Corporations Line Up to Fund Shumlin Inaugural" »

December 29, 2010

2010: Putting the 'Tic' in Politics

Adrian Ed. Note: During the last week of the year, we asked our writers to reflect on the highs and lows of 2010.

My 2010 political season didn't revolve entirely around the gubernatorial race — not when Burlington City Hall and the three-member Congressional delegation are part of my beat.

Here are some of my most memorable moments from this past year ... in politics.

Continue reading "2010: Putting the 'Tic' in Politics" »

December 09, 2010

Sugarbush to Host Shumlin's Inaugural Ball

Celebrate_vt Vermont's Governor-elect Peter Shumlin and 1100 of his closest friends and admirers will celebrate his inauguration at Sugarbush, his inaugural committee announced Thursday.

If the $50 ticket price isn't in the budget, not to fret. Shumlin will be at two additional free functions — one on the Statehouse lawn after he's officially sworn in and another in Brattleboro on the eve of his inauguration.

Continue reading "Sugarbush to Host Shumlin's Inaugural Ball" »

December 05, 2010

Campbell Elected Senate President Pro Tem; Carris, Miller Picked for #2 and #3 Spots

DSC08753 Vermont Senate Democrats converged on the picturesque Three Stallion Inn in Randolph Sunday morning to select their 2011 leadership team.

As expected, Sen. John Campbell (pictured standing), a lawyer from Quechee and the longtime majority leader, was unanimously chosen as the next Senate president pro tem, the top job in the Senate. Sen. Bill Carris of Rutland was elected majority leader and Sen. Hinda Miller of Burlington was elected to the number three leadership post — formerly called majority whip, but now referred to as deputy majority leader.

Would-be challenges to Campbell — including one by Sen. Ginny Lyons of Williston — never materialized and Campbell and the rest of the leadership slate sailed to easy victories. Sen. Tim Ashe, a Progressive/Democrat from Burlington, had considered running for deputy majority leader, but stepped aside to support Miller for the job.

Continue reading "Campbell Elected Senate President Pro Tem; Carris, Miller Picked for #2 and #3 Spots" »

November 15, 2010

Dubie Puts House Up for Sale, Heads Off to the Woods

NNEREN_4033553_14 Lt. Governor Brian Dubie is leaving his hometown and headed for the woods — literally.

Dubie tells Seven Days he put his Essex Junction home up for sale and is moving onto the family property he owns up in Fairfield.

The Dubies own several pieces of land: a nearly 100-acre piece of land where they operate a maple sugaring business; two acres with a cabin on it and another 25-acre parcel with a farmhouse. The cabin is valued at $112,000 and the house and 25 acres is valued at roughly $300,000. The sugarwoods is valued at more than $515,000.

The race for governor put on hold a long-range plan to relocate to his family’s property in Fairfield, Dubie said.

“Sugarwoods in Fairfield calls,” Dubie told Seven Days.

Continue reading "Dubie Puts House Up for Sale, Heads Off to the Woods" »

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684