Madden defends campaign finance irregularities

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 5:11 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - As major candidates ramp up spending in the home stretch before next week’s election, Liam Madden, the Vermont GOP candidate for U.S. House is facing allegations of violating federal fundraising rules.

Monday was the last reporting period before the election spanning from October 1 to the 19th. Becca Balint, the Democrat for U.S. House raised $139,268 and spent $146,703. She has over $144,162 cash on hand. Liam Madden, her GOP challenger, raised $2,562 and spent $626.2. Madden has 6-6229.20 left to spend.

Madden is under fire for apparently inflating his campaign coffers and breaking federal fundraising rules. To qualify for a recent debate hosted by VPIRG and Vermont Conservation Voters, candidates were required to have raised at least $35,000. Madden had only raised about $15,000, so he distributed about $25,000 from his wife’s business to his family members who, in turn, donated the money to his campaign. According to the latest Federal Elections Commission report, his three-year-old son donated over $5,000.

Both major parties condemned Madden’s actions. Madden contends as a first-time candidate, he does not have the resources to go against candidates backed by major parties who have long donor lists. “To cast judgment about this working-class guy who doesn’t have any staff or party support using some of his own money to qualify for a debate to be able to participate in the election process -- it seems kind of hypocritical to me,” Madden said.

Madden has since sent a letter to the FEC explaining the contributions but he says he has not heard back. There has been no complaint filed as of yet. He maintains he’s not doing anything unethical but says if he is found in violation, he’ll own up to it. Despite winning the Republican nomination for the race, the self-described Independent has not received political or financial backing from the Vermont GOP.

In the race for U.S. Senate Democrat Peter Welch raised $96,569.61 this period and spent $362,670.69. Republican Gerald Malloy raised $64,068.39 and spent $44,170.36.

Those voters who did not get their ballot in the mail by Monday are urged to deliver it in person to your town clerk by Election Day to ensure it is counted. Click here for more information on voting and how to check to confirm sure your ballot was received.