MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) - Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell said Tuesday the Republican Governors Association (RGA) will pay a $40,000 penalty for violating campaign finance laws in 2010 during the gubernatorial election.
Sorrell also said the RGA will be required to file corrected campaign finance reports that list contributions it received and expenditures made during the election. The RGA created a Vermont Political Action Committee named Green Mountain Prosperity to do political advertising during the 2010 campaign.
However, the association also ran its own political ads during the election, which promoted candidate Brian Dubie and attacked his opponent Peter Shumlin, Sorrell said. He added that the RGA spent nearly $290,000 in Vermont by itself and more than $760,000 under the PAC name.
Vermont courts have found the RGA had violated campaign finance laws by failing to register as a political action committee; not filing campaign finance reports in the state; and accepting contributions of more than the $2,000 limit on PACs, Sorrell said.
Sorrell said the fine and penalty against the RGA will send “a strong message” for other political committees to play “by our rules.”
“If PACs that work with candidates receive unlimited contributions, there is the appearance, if not a substantial risk, of corruption and undue influence on the candidates by the large donors,” Sorrell said. “It is essential that PACs make the disclosures required under the law. The public should know who is funding the activities of the PACs that seek to influence Vermont voters.”