Former Vt. gubernatorial candidate settles AG's lawsuit

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 22, 2013

MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) - Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell announced a settlement on Friday with the Republican Governors Association and a former gubernatorial candidate related to allegations of campaign finance violations.

The RGA and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Brian Dubie allegedly used confidential polling data to make strategic decisions related to television and radio advertising. An enforcement action brought by Sorrell's office in December 2011 alleged the RGA's advertisements were materially influenced by the confidential polling data obtained by the Dubie campaign.

The RGA broadcasted $242,000 worth of television and radio advertising in support of Dubie. Under Vermont's campaign finance law, the advertisements counted as contributions to the campaign. Vermont's campaign finance laws cap political action committee contributions to candidates at $6,000, far below the amount spent on ads by the RGA during the campaign.

"The RGA clearly bears more responsibility here," Sorrell said. "Brian Dubie's campaign staff erred in accommodating the RGA's request for polling data. This case sends a message to PACs that they cannot get around the contribution limits by soliciting valuable, private information from candidates in order to shape their campaign tactics."

Under the terms of the judgment order, the RGA must pay a civil penalty of $30,000. Dubie must pay a civil penalty of $10,000 and make a contribution to the Vermont Foodbank worth $10,000.

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