Controversy in the race for Vermont governor with allegations one campaign broke the law. Vermont Democrats say a TV commercial for Republican Brian Dubie violates campaign finance law.
Vermont laws say groups like the Republican Governors Association-- which has been airing commercials on behalf of Dubie-- can only produce those commercials as long as they do it on their own and do not coordinate or work with the candidate or his campaign. In this case, the Democrats are saying there is no way the RGA film crew could have made their commercial without help from Dubie's campaign.
In a Republican Governors Association ad in support of Brian Dubie, the candidate for governor is seen speaking at campaign events and chatting with Vermonters on the street.
Vermont Democrats have filed a complaint with the attorney general's office, saying the ad violates campaign finance rules.
"Because there's a precedent of national Republicans playing around with our campaign finance laws and we want to make sure that's not happening in this case," said Paul Tencher of the Vermont Democratic Party.
In 2004 a judge found Jim Douglas had illegally accepted $200,000 from the RGA.
In this case, Democrats say it would have been impossible for the film crew to know where Dubie would be without the campaign telling them.
Reporter Bianca Slota: Do you have solid evidence that they were somehow coordinating with the Dubie campaign?
Paul Tencher: Brian Dubie hasn't been forthcoming to the media or the public about where his events are taking place, there is no way that a camera crew, a large camera crew would know exactly where, exactly when to start filming Brian Dubie.
Dubie's campaign denies any coordination with the RGA. He was unavailable to speak about the issue because he was fulfilling National Guard duties Thursday but his campaign manager, Corry Bliss, spoke on his behalf.
"We expect cheap shots and really this is nothing more than a cheap shot, an attack to divert attention from the issue," Bliss said.
Bliss says the camera crew knew where to find Dubie because the campaign posts his schedule on his Facebook page and frequently sends out emails and notices to his supporters.
Bianca Slota: So you never coordinated with the Republican Governors Association?
Corry Bliss: Absolutely not! Absolutely not. And Peter Shumlin knows that.
For his part, Peter Shumlin-- the presumptive Democratic nominee-- is keeping mum about the issue.
Bianca Slota: Do you agree with these allegations?
Peter Shumlin: Ah, no comment. I'll let the party take care of that.
Attorney General Bill Sorrell told WCAX News he has no reason to believe the suit is frivolous. He will ask for an official response from both the Dubie campaign and the Republican Governors Association then issue an opinion. Ultimately this may end up before a judge. In the meantime, it looks like the ad will be allowed to run.