Democrats face off in race for Vermont attorney general
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Both Democratic candidates vying for Vermont attorney general squared off in a debate Wednesday night hosted by VT Digger.
One topic up for debate was the Attorney General’s Office’s lack of transparency when it comes to releasing sensitive documents to the public in the Kingdom Con EB-5 case.
“I think there needs to be a refresh on transparency,” Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault said in response to a question from the moderator. “We have lurched through, as a state government, trying to adopt ethic rules and react to EB-5 without even understanding the full scope of what those failures were in the state government.”
Meanwhile, his opponent, former Attorney General Chief of Staff Charity Clark, defended the office’s decision to withhold the public records. She says the office represents the state in court, making it privy to attorney-client privilege.
“When the case is over, there’s a plan in place to reveal the records, then the public will have that opportunity,” Clark said when asked how the public could judge the state’s action without complete information.
They also went head to head on issues regarding police transparency, specifically whether “Brady letters” should be accessible through some type of statewide database. The letters are written by state’s attorneys who deny taking cases from certain police officers for conduct reasons,
“It’s an incredibly important issue. It’s important to police reform,” Clark explained. “I think it’s an issue in flux. I think as a country, we are at a moment in time, where it’s good to be evaluating.”
Meanwhile, Thibault says he is prepared to take action. He says he already has policies surrounding transparency surrounding officer misconduct in Washington County. Thibault says he’d like to make those policies applicable statewide.
“There should be an easy way to track this information. We can’t have a bad officer leave Brattleboro and end up in St. Albans. without anyone knowing about it,” Thibault explained. “That erodes public trust and confidence in law enforcement; it really impacts the good officers working with integrity.”
Other topics addressed in Wednesday’s debate included the opioid crisis, consumer problems and abortion access.
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