Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Politics in Vermont

In between the High Holy Days and a reconciliation hymn for September 11, my mind has been elsewhere. It's been somewhere spiritual. Somewhere positive.

Time to bring my thoughts back in balance. No more harmony-with-the-universe stuff.

Time for politics in Vermont.

Governor of Vermont

The Democratic primary was a five way race, with Shumlin ahead of Racine by about 200 votes. The recount finished two days ago. Shumlin also won the recount, again by 200 votes.

Shumlin will run again the Republican Brian Dubie for governor this November. A few things to note:
  • Shumlin won by 200 votes out of 75,000 cast.
  • Dubie has released his financial statement, and Shumlin seems reluctant to release his own.
  • Shumlin spent about $230,000 of his own money on his primary campaign. In Vermont, that's a lot of money. Dubie's warchest, including money from the Republican Governors Association, was about one million dollars shortly before the primary.

For those who tuned in late: Shumlin is eager to shut down Vermont Yankee and Dubie wants to keep it. This excellent Vermont Digger article about Dubie and Shumlin describes the issues around revealing financial statements. The article also describes a new soft-money not-for-profit which is active against Vermont Yankee. And against Brian Dubie.

Soft Money

Green Mountain Future is the new not-for-profit, apparently designed expressly to funnel soft money into the campaign against Vermont Yankee and against Brian Dubie. Political campaign contributions must be revealed. Campaign contributions are supposed to be visible to the public. However, contributions for not-for-profits do not have to be revealed. Green Mountain Future can take any amount of money, from anywhere, and not say very much about who gave that money. This is a great advantage in a political campaign. Of course, such organizations are not supposed to participate in political campaigns.

In this case, a Green Mountain Future anti-Vermont Yankee TV ad is now running on many stations in Vermont. The final words of the ad are "Tell Brian Dubie No." Yet somehow, this is not political. As Terri Hallenbeck of the Burlington Free Press says in a blog post: In the world of fine lines, a nonprofit can weigh in on policy but not come out and tell you who to vote for.

Interesting. If you don't say "vote for Joe," you CAN say "Tell Jim No." You are still an educational-charitable not-for-profit. You didn't actually tell anyone who to vote for, right? Just who to vote against...

And In Conclusion (I hope not)

The Brattleboro Reformer just ran an interesting article called Want a high-paying job? Move to Massachusetts. Thank you to Vermont Tiger blog for leading me to this article.

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