FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE News from the Vermont Democratic Party Monday, June 15, 2020 CONTACT: RCDiMezzo@vtdemocrats.org
Questionable Political Spending Bedevil Leading GOP Candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor
MONTPELIER, VT -- 2020 is shaping up to be a year of questionable political financial practices from Vermont’s leading GOP candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. Whether they’re spending corporate cash to boost their name recognition or throwing their arms around out of state dark money PACs, Vermont’s two multi-millionaire GOP candidates are tripping alarm bells.
Phil Scott (R-VT): Phil Scott has long been a strong advocate for the use of out of state campaign cash. In fact, during his first campaign for Governor, he welcomed $2.8 million in dark money from the Republican Governors Association (RGA) -- most of those funds were used to trash his Democratic opponent.
The RGA swooped into Vermont again in 2018 to help Scott with his reelection campaign, sinking more than $800,000 into the gubernatorial election.
Indeed, Scott is so confident that the RGA will again fund his reelection in 2020 with money from the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, big tobacco, and the NRA, that he has stated publicly he will not fundraise or campaign for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency (which may lead into the Fall). Phil Scott claims frustration with his party’s rhetoric and tactics, yet welcomes with open arms their influence over his campaigns for governor.
Scott Milne (R-VT): Two-time failed candidate Scott Milne is back in the Vermont political spotlight as he’s again seeking statewide office -- this time he’s running for lieutenant governor. Milne has a loose relationship with campaign finance restrictions. When he ran for a U.S. Senate seat in 2016, he listed his campaign’s official address as that of his business, Milne Travel. As VTDigger reported at the time: “By using his business address as a campaign hub, Milne runs the risk of violating federal campaign finance laws.”
Also in 2016 -- and seemingly again in 2020 -- Mr. Milne tiptoed around campaign finance restrictions by airing company commercials with biographical information about himself using company funds. These ads have allowed Milne to use corporate funds and skirt around campaign finance restrictions to boost his name recognition for political gain.
Whether or not Milne Travel ads are expressly advocating for Mr. Milne’s election to office, they have the effect and value of boosting his image, name recognition, and bio in a way that will benefit him politically.
“Frankly, the leading candidates for the Republican nominations for governor and lieutenant governor are running incredibly surreptitious campaigns -- playing fast and loose with campaign finance,” said VDP spokesperson R. Christopher Di Mezzo. “Multi-millionaires Scott and Scott are cutting campaign corners left and right and they are doing so at the expense of Vermont voters. At least their primary opponents -- John Klar (governor) and Meg Hansen (lieutenant governor) -- are running real campaigns and engaging openly with Republican voters. I don’t know what it is about these multi-millionaire politicians that make them think they’re entitled to cut corners and skip campaigning.”