Senator Sanders’ Refusal to Answer Questions Re Burlington College.

The following press release was sent by Brady Toensing on May 8, 2017.

Senator Sanders’ Refusal to Answer Questions Re Burlington College.

Although Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders refuses to give interviews to most of his home state’s media outlets, https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/the-media-bern-sanders-keeps-vermont-press-at-arms-length/Content?oid=4715938, he recently deigned to give a ten-minute interview to WCAX, a local Vermont television station: 

http://www.wcax.com/story/35356466/sanders-weighs-in-on-burlington-college-investigation

During that interview, in reference to an active FBI investigation into a fraudulent loan given to Burlington College where his wife was president, Senator Sanders was asked whether he “used [his] influence to secure [the] loan from” the federally insured bank.

Senator Sanders refused to respond and blamed politics for the FBI investigation. This investigation, however, was started in early 2016 after media reports raised questions about misrepresentations Ms. Sanders made concerning the school’s income in order to secure the loan. These media reports were based on public records and interviews with purported "confirmed" donors. 

The FBI has not disclosed what prompted its investigation, but it was started more than a year ago under President Obama, his Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and his United States Attorney, all of whom are Democrats.

During the interview, Senator Sanders claimed without explanation that it would somehow be “improper” for him to answer any questions about this fraudulent loan and his office’s involvement in securing it. However, it is perfectly appropriate for a public official to answer questions about the conduct of his office.

What is improper is a sitting United States Senator refusing to answer questions about his office’s involvement in a fraudulent loan that directly led to the demise of a college. This fraud also harmed students and resulted in huge financial losses to the bank, almost $150,000 in losses to the taxpayers of Vermont, and almost $2 million in losses to the Catholic Diocese.

There is evidence that Senator Sanders’s office improperly pressured the bank to approve the loan application submitted by the Senator’s wife. See attached May 25, 2016 letter to investigators. Improper pressure by a United States Senator is a serious ethical violation.  Under Senate Ethics Rules, a Senator or his office may not get involved in any way with a loan transaction that benefits a family member.  Senate Ethics R. 35(b)(1) and (b)(2)(A).  Under these rules it is improper for a spouse to receive favorable treatment for a loan “… because of the official position of the Member …”  Senate Ethics R. 35(b)(2)(A).

 

For Immediate Release
April 25, 2017

Contact:
Jeff Bartley, Executive Director
Vermont Republican Party
802-223-3411, jeff@vtgop.org

VERMONT NEA CONTINUES TO BUY VOTES

After spending nearly $300,000 in 2016 to support Vermont’s left, Montpelier refuses to take up initiatives to decrease the burden on taxpayers

Berlin, VT - In 2016, Vermonters overwhelmingly supported Governor Phil Scott, and his mission to grow the economy and make Vermont a more affordable place to live. With ballooning budgets and rapidly increasing property taxes across Vermont, Governor Scott has made a priority of his administration to ease these crushing burdens.

Today, Governor Phil Scott, surrounded by school board members and superintendents, continued to champion a plan that would save taxpayers up to $26 million annually, AND hold teachers’ health benefits harmless. Despite these cost savings and zero threat to teachers, Democrats and Progressives pander to the Vermont NEA; the same group that spent nearly $300,000 dollars in the 2016 election.

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Vermont Democrats and Progressives Slow Economic Progress to Maintain Status Quo

 

Vermont Democrats and Progressives Slow Economic Progress to Maintain Status Quo

Berlin, VT - Today, Vermont Democrats and Progressives voted against Governor Scott’s Executive Order to create a unified Department of Liquor and Lottery. This Executive Order would eliminate duplicative processes, improve accountability, realize cost savings, and unleash revenue potential for the State.

 

In response to this vote, Tim Schaffer, Communications Director for the Vermont Republican Party, issued the following statement:

“By not supporting this Executive Order, Democrats in the House, under the direction of Speaker Mitzi Johnson, rejected an order that makes government more effective, efficient and productive for taxpayers.

“Governor Scott and Vermont Republicans recognize the urgent need to address the state’s economic challenges. We remain committed to do what is best for Vermonters and will continue in our efforts to address the affordability crisis and grow Vermont’s economy.

“The Governor talks about the numbers 6-3-1 often. Every day in Vermont, there are six fewer workers in the workforce, three fewer students in our schools, and one baby born addicted to opiates. If we do not change the trajectory we're on, if we maintain Montpelier’s status quo, Vermonters will continue to suffer.

“The Vermont Democrats and Progressives’ lack of desire to change Montpelier’s outlook is the reason the affordability crisis continues. We must do better. It’s time for change.”



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ICYMI Governor Phil Scott Among Most Popular Governors in the Nation

ICYMI Governor Phil Scott Among Most Popular Governors in the Nation
New poll shows Governor Scott has a 68% approval rating


Berlin, VT - Governor Phil Scott was recently ranked one of the most popular governors in the United States, earning 68% approval from Vermonters, with only 16% disapproving. In a survey conducted by Morning Consult, the news source polled over 85,000 voters nationally to determine how everyday Americans feel about their governor’s job performance.    

It is clear that Governor Scott’s priorities of growing the economy, making Vermont more affordable, and making government more efficient and less costly - without raising taxes and fees – are clearly resonating with Vermonters.

For too long, Vermonters have been forced to pay for Montpelier’s old spending habits through rising costs and higher taxes, without being provided any tools to help their businesses and salaries keep pace.  They are looking for a government that lives within its means, doesn’t grow faster than their paychecks and delivers better, more efficient results for taxpayers. Governor Scott, with the strong support of Vermont's Republican legislators, believes when focus on these areas we’ll be able to expand the private sector economy, lower costs, invest in pro-growth initiatives like higher education and infrastructure, helping to reverse the Green Mountain State’s unsustainable economic trends of a shrinking workforce, aging demographics and the crisis of affordability.

Governor Scott and Vermont's Republican legislators are committed to fighting for you -- BUT THEY NEED YOUR HELP.  Please take a few minutes today to call your legislators at (802) 828-2228 and urge them to support the Governor’s agenda for strengthening the economy, making Vermont more affordable and reforming state government. 

You can read more about the poll’s findings by clicking here.

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Thank you Job Tate for your service, and welcome Jim Harrison to the team!

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

 

The following press release was sent from Governor Phil Scott's administration.

 

GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT APPOINTS JIM HARRISON TO RUTLAND-WINDSOR DISTRICT SEAT IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced the appointment of Jim Harrison as Representative for the Rutland-Windsor District, serving Bridgewater, Chittenden, Killington, and Mendon.

 

Harrison, a resident of North Chittenden, was appointed to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Job Tate (R), who – as a reservist serving with a Naval Mobile Construction Battalion – is being deployed. Keeping with traditional practice when replacing a member of the Legislature, Governor Scott selected a replacement from the same political party.

 

“Jim brings tremendous knowledge and experience working with the Legislature to this position, which will serve his District well as he hits the ground running this week,” said Gov. Scott. “I am confident he will be a dedicated public servant, representing the best interests of his constituents as we work to grow the economy, make Vermont more affordable and give Vermonters a break from increasing taxes and fees.”

 

For nearly 30 years, Harrison served as president of the Vermont Retail & Grocers Association – a statewide trade association – before retiring in 2016. He now works part-time at Green Mountain Golf Course in Killington. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and an MBA from New Hampshire College. Harrison also serves on local boards and committees, including Friends of Chittenden Public Library and Chittenden Historical Society. He is a past trustee and treasurer of the Vermont Foodbank, a former board member of the Green Mountain Credit Union, and a past president of the Vermont Society of Association Executives.  

 

“I’m honored to have been selected to serve the residents of Bridgewater, Chittenden, Killington and Mendon, and look forward to working with my fellow lawmakers and Governor Scott to spur economic growth and opportunity,” said Harrison. 

 

Harrison, who was sworn in Tuesday, was one of three nominees put forward by the Rutland County Republican Committee.

 

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Governor Phil Scott One Of The Most Popular Governors

For Immediate Release:
April, 11, 2017

Contact:
Tim Schaffer, Communications Director
Vermont Republican Party
tim@vtgop.org, 802-223-3411

Governor Phil Scott One Of The Most Popular Governors
New poll shows Governor Scott has a 68% approval rating


Berlin, VT - New polling via Morning Consult shows Governor Phil Scott has broad support with a 68% approval rating and is among the most popular Governors in the country. The poll, which included more than 85,000 registered voters, shows that the 10 most popular chief executives in America are Republicans.

In response to the poll Jeff Bartley, Executive Director of the Vermont Republican Party, issued the following statement:

“Three months into his administration, Governor Phil Scott is already one of the most popular Governors in the country.  When you stand firm against higher taxes and fees, promise to veto a crushing carbon tax, and continue to work to make Government more efficient; it’s easy to see why Governor Scott has such wide support. Vermonters will continue to benefit from an administration working to make Vermont more affordable, create jobs, and grow the economy.”

 

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Governor Phil Scott Is Making State Government Efficient

Members of Governor’s Government Modernization & Efficiency Team Detail Strategic Approach to Improve Outcomes and Lower Costs   

Berlin, VT. – Recently, members of Governor Phil Scott’s Government Modernization & Efficiency Team (GMET) Sue Zeller and Neale Lunderville appeared on Vermont Public Radio to detail the Governor’s efforts to make state government more efficient and improve services.

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Vermont Democrats Parade New Carbon Tax Legislation

For Immediate Release
April 10, 2017

Contact: 
Jeff Bartley, Executive Director
Vermont Republican Party
802-503-5801, jeff@vtgop.org


Vermont Democrats Parade New Carbon Tax Legislation
New proposals attempt to deceive Vermonters in a non-election year

Berlin, VT - In response to new legislation proposed in the Vermont House of Representatives to create a carbon tax, Jeff Bartley, Executive Director of the Vermont Republican Party issued the following statement:

“The Democrats and Progressives just won't rest until they've they've exhausted every conceivable scheme to create a new carbon tax. That's the only takeaway from reports that Democrat and Progressive lawmakers will submit different proposals this week to undermine our economy and deepen the crisis of affordability their failed policies created.

“Vermonters will not support any proposal for an economically disastrous new carbon tax.  Especially a proposal like this that tries to hide a wolf in sheep's clothing by pretending to take money from one of your pockets and put it into another. Vermonters will not be fooled by this deceitful, and economically reckless, political trickery.

"The fact is a carbon tax will take millions more dollars from Vermont taxpayer’s, increase the costs of goods and services across the board, cause more businesses to shut their doors and cost us jobs. That is exactly why Governor Phil Scott has repeatedly pledged to veto a carbon tax and Vermont's Republican legislators are prepared to sustain that veto should it become necessary.

“We call on Progressive Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, Senate Pro Temp Tim Ashe, and Speaker Mitzi Johnson to publicly reject yet another carbon tax proposal and refocus on creating jobs and making Vermont more affordable.

"Democrats are clearly more focused on creating new taxes -- and clever ways to hide them -- than the very real economic hurdles facing working Vermonters and employers. Reviving their election year discussion of a carbon tax is evidence that they cannot adjourn and leave Montpelier soon enough."

Marijuana Bill Highlights Unfocused Montpelier

Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Lt. Governor David Zuckerman lobbying for marijuana when they should be focused on working with businesses to grow the economy.


Berlin, VT - Governor Phil Scott and Republican leadership in both legislative bodies remain committed to addressing the affordability crisis and growing Vermont’s economy. The affordability crisis still remains a top issue facing Vermonters, and if continued to be left unaddressed Vermonters and businesses will continue fleeing Vermont.

Sadly, Democrats and Progressives remain unfocused and easily distracted by pet-projects tailored to their special interest friends.

In response to the Vermont House of Representatives taking up H.170 today, Tim Schaffer, Communications Director for the Vermont Republican Party issued the following statement:

“Last Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.170 during an unscheduled vote -- a move that was clearly calculated. The full House will take a vote on the bill today.

“Speaker Mitzi Johnson vowed not bring this piece of legislation to the floor unless she had the votes for passage. As of a couple weeks ago, the bill was all but dead. Suddenly, the Speaker has found the votes and prioritized the bill for a House floor vote today. It is anticipated to be a tight vote.

“This is another example of an out-of-touch majority more focused on passing long-standing pet projects than relieving Vermonters of the burdens they face. In many cases, they add to the burdens like the proposed $80,000,000 in new payroll taxes on working Vermonters and $7.2 million in taxes from a $2.00 a night hotel occupancy charge.

“Additionally, this has been a project for Lt. Governor David Zuckerman for as long as he has been an elected-official in Montpelier. Over the weekend he attempted to stir up support from his base with blast e-mails and social media posts. Shouldn’t he be drumming up support for lower taxes and a Vermont economy that works better for all?

“As this legislation is forced through the House of Representatives at lightening speed, we have couple questions that must be answered by Speaker Mitzi Johnson:

  1. Movement on H.170 has been sudden. What efforts did the Speaker embark on to ensure passage of H.170 if it reached the floor.

  2. Is the Speaker spending more time trying to pass marijuana legislation or is she truly committed to relieving Vermonters from the crushing affordability crisis, lower their taxes, decrease business regulation, and growing the economy?

  3. Is the Speaker more concerned with passing legislation like H.170 than focusing on passing a balanced budget that does not increase taxes or fees?

  4. We can all agree driving under the influence of anything puts Vermonters at risk. Considering that a field-sobriety-like test for those under the influence of marijuana doesn’t exist, how does the Speaker intend to keep Vermonters safe on the road?

  5. Does the Speaker disagree with the Governor who wishes to see a field-sobriety test in place before considering the bill?

  6. What 3rd Party and/or lobbying organizations have been in contact with the Speaker's office, her staff, or other Democratic leaders?

  7. What other pet-projects that have failed to gain support in the House or Senate over the last six years will be taken up this legislative session?

“Vermont Republicans remain committed and are steadfast in our efforts to grow Vermont’s economy and relieve the crushing cost-of-living Vermonters face. These questions need to be answered by Speaker Johnson so that all Vermonters are given a clear and transparent view of how Montpelier truly operates.”

 

Attorney General TJ Donovan Comes to Defense of Own Party and Swipes Blatant Campaign Finance Violation Under Rug

Questions loom as to whether he is serious about enforcing election laws.

Berlin, VT -  In response to Attorney General TJ Donovan ignoring campaign finance laws and disregarding his responsibilities to enforce them, Jeff Bartley, Executive Director of the Vermont Republican Party issued the following statement:

“We are not surprised Attorney General TJ Donovan is coming to the aide of his fellow Democrats by not enforcing current campaign finance laws. His ruling narrowly interprets the statute prohibiting sitting legislators from soliciting contributions from lobbyists to only direct solicitations - meaning solicitations for the legislators themselves.

“The Attorney General has now made clear that legislators may solicit lobbyists on behalf of third parties or at the very least allow third parties to use their names to solicit lobbyists. The Democrats seem to be circumventing the clear language and meaning of the statute and the Attorney General seems perfectly content to look the other way.

“Our complaint clearly articulated that Rep. Jill Krowinski signed a letter and fundraising plea distributed by the Vermont Democratic Party on her behalf.  The e-mail landed in the inboxes of many lobbyists -- and was distributed knowing their email list contained Vermont and Federal lobbyists.”

“If signing a letter ‘Jill Krowinski, Majority Leader, House Democratic Caucus’ on behalf of the Democratic Party does not violate the statutory prohibition against legislators soliciting lobbyists, then why have the law in the first place.”

“This lack of action calls into question whether the Attorney General is serious about developing and enforcing campaign finance laws. We strongly urge the Attorney General to re-examine this decision and the dangerous precedent it will set if it stands.”

A copy of our complaint can be downloaded by clicking here.
A copy of Rep. Jill Krowinski's e-mail can be downloaded by clicking here.
A copy of the Attorney General's response can be downloaded by clicking here.