VT Progressive Party Nominee for Lt. Gov. Ordered to Pay $72,000

Dean Corren

From Richard Winger at Ballot Access News:

In November 2014, Dean Corren was the Progressive Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor. He was also nominated by the Democratic Party, and he received 36.1% of the general election vote. Now the Attorney General, William Sorrell, has sued Corren, saying that an e-mail sent by the Vermont Democratic Party to its list of supporters, inviting recipients to attend a rally featuring U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Governor Peter Shumlin, and Corren, constitutes an illegal campaign contribution to Corren. Shumlin and Sorrell are both Democrats.

The Attorney General wants Corren to repay $52,000 that he received in public funding, plus a fine of $20,000. Corren already spent the public funding he received on his campaign.

On March 20, Corren sued the Attorney General in federal court, arguing that the repayment order is disproportionate, and alternatively that the Democratic Party’s e-mail is not a campaign contribution. The federal case is Corren v Sorrell, 2:15cv-58. Thanks to the Center for Competitive Elections for this news. The case is assigned to Judge William K. Sessions, a Clinton appointee.

2 thoughts on “VT Progressive Party Nominee for Lt. Gov. Ordered to Pay $72,000

  1. Gene Berkman

    This is a strange case. It would seem that when the Democratic Party sends an email to its members, that is legal communication, rather than a contribution to specific candidates which are mentioned.

    I don’t know what the campaign finance laws in Vermont are, but apparently under McCain-Feingold it is possible that similar types of communication that a party might engage in with its members would also be considered a “campaign contribution.”

    Further evidence that campaign finance laws constitute an abridgement of free speech. I hope that Vermont Progressives learn this lesson from the case mentioned in this post.

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