AG hopeful McMullen wants court review of PAC, SorrellBy DAVE GRAM
The Associated Press | November 02,2012MONTPELIER — Republican attorney general candidate Jack McMullen on Wednesday accused former Gov. Howard Dean of being the conduit in illegal coordination between the campaign of longtime Democratic Attorney General William Sorrell and a political action committee.
McMullen said Dean, a Democrat, was on “both sides of the equation” by serving as a consultant to Sorrell’s primary campaign against TJ Donovan and by narrating TV and radio ads for a purportedly independent super PAC that supported Sorrell, the Committee for Justice and Fairness.
He also targeted Sorrell for not having his office investigate the allegations and Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin for not ordering an independent investigation when Jack Lindley, chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, raised similar allegations in September.
Dean had previously denied any wrongdoing; a Dean aide said Thursday he was traveling and wouldn’t be available for comment. In an interview Thursday, Sorrell also denied doing anything illegal.
McMullen made his comments at a news conference a day after he filed papers with the Chittenden Superior Court asking for an emergency court order including “a determination of whether the expenditure of $194,000” by the PAC supporting Sorrell in the primary constituted “a related expenditure in violation of the Vermont campaign finance law.”
At issue is a state law that limits contributions to and expenditures by candidates and says that when independent political groups make expenditures supporting candidates there must be no coordination between those groups and the candidates or their campaigns.
McMullen said Dean had served as a consultant to Sorrell’s primary campaign against Donovan, the Chittenden County state’s attorney, and had worked with the Committee for Justice and Fairness by narrating its television and radio ads supporting Sorrell.
Sorrell acknowledged Thursday that he had had breakfast with Dean several months ago and that Dean offered him some general advice about his primary campaign.
“The grand extent of the advice Howard Dean gave me was over a breakfast we had at least six months ago. We were talking about the primary. He said, ‘You’ve got to hold your own, not lose badly, out of Chittenden County and pick off a bunch of other counties, and you’ll be fine.”’
Both Sorrell and Donovan come from Burlington. Sorrell said he readily agreed with Dean’s analysis because it was both correct and obvious.
Sorrell said that bit of advice, combined with Dean’s later involvement in the PAC ads supporting Sorrell, did not constitute anything close to illegal coordination between his campaign and the PAC.
“I had no idea they were going to do anything on my behalf,” he said, adding that the first he knew the PAC had created campaign ads supporting him was when reporters called to ask him for comment about them.
“If this is how he’s going to act as attorney general ... taking up the court’s time without any evidence to support the charge — buyer, beware. Or voter, beware, I guess,” Sorrell said.MORE IN Vermont NewsMONTPELIER — The state and its contractor for Vermont Health Connect operations and development... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Capt. James Cook discovers and names Christmas Island, Brits develop and test H-bombs there in 1957-58; 100 years ago today, Christmas truce takes hold on Western Front in France, combatants observe the holiday.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Gen. Wm. T. Sherman concludes March to the Sea, secures Savannah, Ga., offers the city as Christmas gift to Pres. Lincoln; N.Y.'s Lincoln Tunnel opens in 1937; first gorilla born in captivity, Colo, celebrates 58th birthday today.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Brent Curtis reports on the probe into a city bar fight involving police officers; Vt. Yankee has its last media day event before final shutdown next week; Depot Park hosts annual vigil to raise awareness of plight of homeless.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont Gas Systems puts Phase 2 on hold as the latest estimate for Phase 1 takes a 27 percent leap upward, to a total of $157 million; U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin quits for job with private firm; police cite man in pot bust.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1972, Christmas bombing of North Vietnam ordered by President Richard Nixon, most lethal strikes of the war; in 1989, U.S. invades Panama to depose, arrest and charge Gen. Manuel Noriega with drug trafficking, racketeering.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Gov. Peter Shumlin announces demise of his single-payer health insurance initiative; convicted first-degree murderer Alan Prue sentenced to 50 years for killing teacher Melissa Jenkins; veterans chafed about park naming snub.