Group that opposes them launches first Super PAC in Vermont
Vermont Priorities has launched Vermont's first Super PAC to finance and manage independent expenditure campaigns in the 2012 election.
Vermont Priorities, a Montpelier-based, non-profit organization filed the paperwork to form Priorities PAC with the Vermont Secretary of State today. Todd Bailey of Montpelier-based KSE Partners, a consultant for the new group, said: "Independent Expenditure Campaign (IEC) PACs are new to the Vermont electoral landscape but are an electoral tool that have been in existence since the 2010 election. Recent court decisions, one in Vermont and another at the US Supreme Court, paved the way for the creation of IEC PACs in Vermont."
Bob Stannard, treasurer of Priorities PAC explained: “Many Vermonters think independent expenditure campaigns have no place in electoral politics and frankly we agree. The fact is IECs are being used by the wealthy and powerful to steer the conversation and we believe the same tools should be used to protect the interests of the people.”
“We believe in supporting small businesses by removing the financial burden of health care, having a progressive tax system, getting our energy from the sun and wind, and protecting working families' ability to earn a living.” Stannard added.
The IEC PAC can take unlimited donations from anyone in Vermont and beyond and must disclose all donors. Additionally, the IEC PAC cannot make any contributions to candidates or coordinate efforts with a candidate’s campaign. This is where the name Independent Expenditure Campaign PAC comes from.
“Many people who agree with the issues we work on and the candidates they will likely vote for despise IEC PACs. They think IEC PACs represent everything that is wrong with our democracy,” said Susan Dollenmaier, founder of Anichini linens, and a board member for Vermont Priorities. “Our IEC PAC will fight to elect candidates who support the issues we have identified and subsequently fight to defeat candidates who will work to implement policies pushed by the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and ALEC. But we have one additional mission, make all of these entities - including our own – extinct," Dollenmaier added.
Priorities PAC said in a statement that its mission is to support elected leaders who will work to pass laws that limit the ability of IEC PACs to function and influence the outcome of elections. Priorities PAC said it believes there are better ways for a democracy to function; but because Super PACs are already taking large sums of money and deploying them in ways that threaten the foundation of our democracy, it is necessary to use the available tools to balance the scales and support the values shared by the majority of Vermonters.
Vermont Priorities was formed as a nonprofit corporation in December 2011. Along with Stannard and Dollenmaier the Vermont Secretary of State record also lists Ethan Morrer as an officer.
Source: Vermont Priorities 7.18.2012