RGA and Douglas

Having followed the Republican Governor’s Alliance/ Douglas financing story closely over the past two weeks, I can’t help but express my absolute outrage that the Attorney General (Sorrell) has neglected to take significant action against this unauthorized political action committee. As a voter, I do my best to follow political issues. However, there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to truly keep up with any issues when bombarded with the very seedy practices of Governor Douglas and his friends at the RGA.Part of what I love about Vermont is that on a statewide level we have attempted to curb the onslaught of corporate money in government by regulating it with campaign finance laws. Under Vermont campaign finance law, candidates can receive no more than $400 in contributions from a single donor (fair). In addition, we have also attempted to address the issue of Political Action Committees (PACs). In doing so, Vermont requires any PAC that wishes to contribute to a statewide election, to register with us prior to launching political ads. In order to prevent corporations from having a significant say in statewide politics, and to preserve the integrity of our elections, they have capped the amount a company or individual is allowed to donate to a PAC (registered with Vermont) at $2000.With this, no company can buy a candidate, at least not in Vermont— until today. Attorney General Sorrell found that the RGA did indeed neglect statewide registration, yet allowed them to continue to proceed with their media ad blitz spending upwards of $115,000 on behalf of Douglas with plans to spend a total of $305,000! Douglas, absurdly claims to have no political ties to these folks, despite the fact that they are tied to him in a six digit way! Common sense lends anyone to the conclusion that they are indeed connected with one another, and are blatantly lying to the state and its voters. Following the link on the Attorney General’s homepage, I was able to download and print the 106 pages of IRS forms submitted by the RGA. Within this document is an itemized list of “contributors” and the amounts to which they “donated” to the RGA. Most of these companies have financed insurmountable loads of money that defies the campaign finance laws of Vermont which caps donations to PACs at $2000. Which easily leads to the reason the RGA neglected to follow the laws in the first place and register with Vermont as a PAC as they would have been denied access as they overwhelmingly exceed donation caps. Here’s a list of just a handful of the non-voting entities that the RGA represents: (this barely touches the full list please visit it at: http://www.atg.state.vt.us/) Aetna US Healthcare: $25,000, ACE American Insurance Company: $10,000, AFLEC $56,390, American Health Care Association: $26,390, American Insurance Association: $51,390, Americhoice Health Services,INC: $25,000, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield: $25,000, Barr Labortories,INC: $57,590, Caremark RX, INC: $25,000, Citigroup INC: $125,000, Coca-Cola Enterprises: $50,000, Comcast Corporation: $26,390, Correctional Medical Services, INC: $12,500, Corrections Corporation of America: $109,420, Daimlerchrysler Corporation: $183,375, DOW Chemical Company: $50,000, General Electric: $61,390, Lockheed Martin Corporation: $25,695, Massmutual Life Insurance Company: $132,085 and the list goes on-if you have time to read through the 106 pages of itemizations, I recommend it.It is no coincidence that the RGA, representing the interests of a majority of private insurance companies, would funnel nearly a quarter of a million dollars to support Governor Douglas, who is coincidently running against Mayor Clavelle, a candidate gaining strong voter support with his Vermonter’s First universal health care plan. It seems that these companies would have quite a bit at stake if Clavelle were elected. So I ask, who is running our government? The RGA is breaking the law yet Governor Douglas, Attorney General Sorrell and Judge Norton have all refused to enforce our laws and are allowing a super rich association, of super rich corporations to get away with defrauding the public. Whose interests do you believe Douglas has in mind when he allows these crimes to continue? It’s high time that Vermonters halt the filthy practices of these corporations disguised as an “association”, who have a history of doing this in New Hampshire and North Carolina-and demand that our laws are upheld and that the RGA is prosecuted and stopped at once.