February 9, 2017 •

Vermont Increases Contribution Limits

Vermont has increased contribution limits to candidates, PACs, and political parties. By statute, contribution limits are reevaluated and adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index. A 2.1 percent increase was implemented allowing statewide candidates and PACs to receive $4,080 per […]

Flag of VermontVermont has increased contribution limits to candidates, PACs, and political parties.

By statute, contribution limits are reevaluated and adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index. A 2.1 percent increase was implemented allowing statewide candidates and PACs to receive $4,080 per election cycle, state Senate candidates to receive $1,530, and state representative candidates to receive $1,020.

Each limit applies to contributions from a single source or PAC.

This change is effective for two years, and thereafter, increases will apply for the term of two two-year general election cycles.

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February 6, 2017 •

Vermont Legislation Looks to Strengthen State Ethics Laws

Lawmakers are currently considering a bill to strengthen the state’s ethics laws. Senate Bill 8 would, among other things, prohibit legislators and executive officers from becoming a lobbyist for one year after leaving office; create an ethics commission to, in […]

Vermont state sealLawmakers are currently considering a bill to strengthen the state’s ethics laws.

Senate Bill 8 would, among other things, prohibit legislators and executive officers from becoming a lobbyist for one year after leaving office; create an ethics commission to, in turn, create a state code of ethics; prohibit campaign donors from entering into no-bid contracts worth more than $50,000; and require municipalities to create conflict of interest policies.

The bill is expected to reach the full Senate this week.

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January 23, 2017 •

Joint Committee Formed to Improve Vermont’s Campaign Finance Rules

Attorney General TJ Donovan and Sec. of State Jim Condos announced the creation of a joint Committee on Campaign Finance Education, Compliance, and Reform. The committee’s goal is to encourage a greater level of knowledge to facilitate compliance and to […]

Vermont state sealAttorney General TJ Donovan and Sec. of State Jim Condos announced the creation of a joint Committee on Campaign Finance Education, Compliance, and Reform.

The committee’s goal is to encourage a greater level of knowledge to facilitate compliance and to seek out areas where Vermont’s current law could be improved. A series of public forums will be held to seek input from citizens of the state, including elected officials, PACs, and parties.

This input will assist the committee toward creating more robust campaign finance rules.

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November 9, 2016 •

Lieutenant Governor Wins Vermont Gubernatorial Race

Voters will be sending a familiar face back to Montpelier as current Lt. Gov. Phil Scott won the Vermont gubernatorial race. Scott, a Republican, will replace Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who declined to run for a fourth two-year term. Scott […]

gov-phil-scottVoters will be sending a familiar face back to Montpelier as current Lt. Gov. Phil Scott won the Vermont gubernatorial race. Scott, a Republican, will replace Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who declined to run for a fourth two-year term.

Scott will be the only Republican serving in statewide office. The race attracted more campaign spending than ever before, reaching $12 million thanks to PACs looking to influence the election.

Photo of Lt. Gov. Phil Scott by Phil Scott for Vermont campaign on Wikimedia Commons.

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June 9, 2016 •

Vermont Lawmakers Return for a One-Day Veto Session

The General Assembly convenes today, June 9, 2016, for a one-day veto session. Gov. Peter Shumlin vetoed Senate Bill 230, an energy siting bill, and House Bill 518, dealing with the Clean Water Fund Board. Regarding the Senate bill, Shumlin’s […]

Flag of VermontThe General Assembly convenes today, June 9, 2016, for a one-day veto session.

Gov. Peter Shumlin vetoed Senate Bill 230, an energy siting bill, and House Bill 518, dealing with the Clean Water Fund Board.

Regarding the Senate bill, Shumlin’s veto message indicated he wants to pass the bill, but would need certain changes. Proponents of the measure are hoping for a quick fix to return it to the governor’s desk.

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May 9, 2016 •

Vermont General Assembly Adjourns 2016 Session

The General Assembly has completed its business for the year and adjourned the 2016 legislative session on Friday, May 6, 2016, a day ahead of schedule. By joint resolution of the House and Senate, lawmakers will reconvene on June 9 […]

Flag of VermontThe General Assembly has completed its business for the year and adjourned the 2016 legislative session on Friday, May 6, 2016, a day ahead of schedule.

By joint resolution of the House and Senate, lawmakers will reconvene on June 9 if Gov. Shumlin vetoes any bill, otherwise the legislature will be adjourned sine die.

The session’s conclusion marks the end of an era as Gov. Shumlin, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell, and House Speaker Shap Smith will not be returning next year.

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June 18, 2015 •

Vermont Governor Approves Changes to Lobbyist Disclosure Requirements

Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed Senate Bill 93, changing lobbyist reporting requirements. Reports must now be filed for each month the legislature is in session with an additional report in September. The new law also requires identification of lobbyists contributing […]

Flag of VermontGov. Peter Shumlin has signed Senate Bill 93, changing lobbyist reporting requirements. Reports must now be filed for each month the legislature is in session with an additional report in September.

The new law also requires identification of lobbyists contributing to advertisements meant to influence legislation and a report must be filed within 48 hours if such advertisement cost $1,000 or more. Furthermore, a legislator’s candidate committee and a legislative leadership committee may no longer solicit or accept a contribution while the legislature is in session.

These provision are effective July 1, 2015.

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May 18, 2015 •

Vermont Legislature Adjourns After Passing Lobbyist Disclosure Bill

The Vermont Legislature adjourned sine die Saturday, May 16, 2015 late in the evening after completing work on a new budget. The previous day, lawmakers passed a lobbyist disclosure bill to increase disclosure during the legislative session. If signed by […]

Montpelier_vermont_state_house_20The Vermont Legislature adjourned sine die Saturday, May 16, 2015 late in the evening after completing work on a new budget. The previous day, lawmakers passed a lobbyist disclosure bill to increase disclosure during the legislative session.

If signed by the governor, it would be one of the strictest disclosure laws in the country, requiring monthly reports while the legislature is in session.

The bill also mandates lobbyist reports within 48 hours of running mass media campaigns of $1,000 or more.

Photo of the Vermont State House by Jared C. Benedict on Wikimedia Commons.

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April 13, 2015 •

Vermont Attorney General Receives Scrutiny Over Campaign Finance Disclosures

While seeking $72,000 in fines and restitution from a former candidate for lieutenant governor for campaign finance violations, Attorney General Bill Sorrell is coming under fire for his own recent filings. A new report claims Sorrell failed to adequately report […]

William SorrellWhile seeking $72,000 in fines and restitution from a former candidate for lieutenant governor for campaign finance violations, Attorney General Bill Sorrell is coming under fire for his own recent filings. A new report claims Sorrell failed to adequately report thousands of dollars of reimbursements he received from his campaign.

The newspaper Seven Days has pointed to 16 occasions in the last four years where it believes the campaign provided only a vague explanation of what Sorrell purchased and never disclosed who was paid.

Sorrell stated he has always tried to meet his disclosure obligations and he welcomes any input from the Secretary of State’s Office.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, when asked about the situation, said he does not plan to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate.

Photo of Attorney General Bill Sorrell courtesy of the website for the Office of the Vermont Attorney General.

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January 12, 2015 •

Governor of Vermont Reelected to Third Term

Gov. Peter Shumlin has finally won reelection following a vote of the state legislature. Shumlin received just 46.4 percent of the vote in November, less than the majority required by the state constitution, compelling the legislature’s action. Scott Milne received […]

Peter_Shumlin_2012Gov. Peter Shumlin has finally won reelection following a vote of the state legislature. Shumlin received just 46.4 percent of the vote in November, less than the majority required by the state constitution, compelling the legislature’s action.

Scott Milne received 45.1 percent of the vote but, unlike previous runners-up, he did not concede the election.

By secret ballots cast in a joint session of the House and Senate, Gov. Shumlin received 110 votes to Milne’s 69.

Photo of Gov. Peter Shumlin by Community College of Vermont on Wikimedia Commons.

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December 15, 2014 •

Vermont Launching Online System for Lobbyist Filings

The Office of the Secretary State announced lobbying registration and reporting in Vermont is going digital. Beginning with the 2015-2016 biennium, registration and reporting will be accomplished solely through a new online management system. Lobbyist disclosure reports due on January […]

Flag of VermontThe Office of the Secretary State announced lobbying registration and reporting in Vermont is going digital. Beginning with the 2015-2016 biennium, registration and reporting will be accomplished solely through a new online management system.

Lobbyist disclosure reports due on January 25, 2015, covering the period from July 1 to December 31, 2014, will be the last paper filings accepted.

The online system will be available for use no later than January 1, 2015.

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October 9, 2014 •

Vermont Attorney General Candidate Calls for Pay-to-Play Ban

Republican attorney general candidate Shane McCormack is calling for tougher campaign finance rules for those holding the office. McCormack’s proposal would ban current service providers from contributing to a sitting attorney general and would prevent a donor from becoming a […]

Vermont state sealRepublican attorney general candidate Shane McCormack is calling for tougher campaign finance rules for those holding the office. McCormack’s proposal would ban current service providers from contributing to a sitting attorney general and would prevent a donor from becoming a contractor after a successful campaign.

During a debate on Vermont Public Radio, McCormack revealed current attorney general Bill Sorrell accepted $8,000 from Dallas-based Baron & Budd, a law firm later hired as counsel. Sorrell defended the contribution by stating it was properly disclosed and the law firm was hired due to its expertise in the area being litigated.

Baron & Budd was hired following a recommendation from the Agency of Natural Resources to litigate a contaminated groundwater case against the fuel industry. Sorrell claims the agency was unaware of the contribution prior to making the recommendation.

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September 18, 2014 •

Vermont Attorney General Asked to Clarify Campaign Finance Law

The pro-life group Vermont Right to Life Committee filed a complaint with the state’s attorney general’s office against Vermont Leads and its independent expenditure PAC, Vermont Leads Political Action Committee. The complaint alleges transfers of money between the two groups […]

Flag of VermontThe pro-life group Vermont Right to Life Committee filed a complaint with the state’s attorney general’s office against Vermont Leads and its independent expenditure PAC, Vermont Leads Political Action Committee. The complaint alleges transfers of money between the two groups violate campaign finance laws.

Act 90, enacted in January, states an independent expenditure PAC cannot be closely related to a political party or political committee if they make contributions to candidates. The treasurer of Vermont Right to Life Committee, Sharon Toborg, is asking the attorney general to clarify the statute’s language.

Assistant Attorney General Eve Jacobs-Carnahan believes the distinction will depend on communication between Vermont Leads and its PAC as well as their governance structure, activities, and spending.

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August 8, 2014 •

Electronic Filing for Campaign Reports Now Available in Vermont

Secretary of State Jim Condos announced candidates, parties, and political action committees are now able to file financial reports online. Use of the online system is currently voluntary but becomes mandatory on January 1, 2015. Electronic filing is available here.

Vermont state sealSecretary of State Jim Condos announced candidates, parties, and political action committees are now able to file financial reports online.

Use of the online system is currently voluntary but becomes mandatory on January 1, 2015.

Electronic filing is available here.

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