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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Bernie Sanders Raises Nearly $6 Million on Day One of His Presidential Campaign

Posted By on Tue, Feb 19, 2019 at 8:43 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns in Iowa in January 2016. - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns in Iowa in January 2016.
Updated February 20, 2019, at 10:50 a.m.

Within 24 hours of joining the race for president Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reeled in more than $5.9 million, according to his campaign. The money came from roughly 223,000 individual donors.

The campaign said it also signed up $600,000 worth of recurring, monthly donations.

Sanders' fundraising haul shatters this cycle's record, which was briefly held by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). In her first day on the trail last month, Harris picked up $1.5 million from 38,000 donors.
Four years earlier, Sanders himself raised $1.5 million from 100,000 donors on the day he joined the 2016 race for the Democratic nomination. By the end of that campaign, he had raised more than $234 million.

In his announcement Tuesday morning, Sanders called for a million voters to pledge their support. His campaign said that 330,000 had done so by Tuesday evening. His announcement video was viewed by more than 5.7 million people that day on social media.

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Bernie Sanders to Run for President in 2020

Posted By on Tue, Feb 19, 2019 at 6:47 AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns in New Hampshire in May 2015. - FILE: MORIAH HOUNSELL
  • FILE: MORIAH HOUNSELL
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns in New Hampshire in May 2015.
Updated at 4:01 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will make a second run for the White House in 2020, he announced Tuesday morning.

The senator disclosed his candidacy in an interview with Vermont Public Radio, telling host Bob Kinzel, “I wanted to let the people of the state of Vermont know about this first.”

Sanders elaborated on his plans in an 11-minute video and a 1,500-word email to supporters, in which he sounded many of the populist, progressive themes that have characterized his nearly five decades in public life — and made him a breakout star of the 2016 presidential election. “Our campaign is about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life,” he said.

Asked in a pre-taped interview with CBS News’ John Dickerson how this campaign would differ from his last, Sanders said, “We’re gonna win.”
"Our campaign is not only about defeating Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history," Sanders said in his announcement. "Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice."

The 77-year-old independent joins a crowded Democratic field, which already features five other U.S. senators and is expected to include more than a dozen members of Congress, governors, mayors and business leaders. Sanders, however, is the highest-profile pol to enter the race thus far — and the only one to have previously sought the office. Only former vice president Joe Biden, who is reportedly eyeing a run, has garnered greater support in early public opinion polls.

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Friday, February 8, 2019

Immigration Dispute Leads Feds to Withhold $2 Million in Grants From Vermont Police

Posted By on Fri, Feb 8, 2019 at 4:27 PM

DREAMSTIME
  • Dreamstime
Updated at 6:10 p.m.

The federal Department of Justice is withholding more than $2 million in law enforcement grants from Vermont pending a review of the state’s compliance with a federal law that requires local officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

“These grants are the DOJ Byrne JAG grant and the DOJ COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force grant,” VSP spokesman Adam Silverman wrote in an email to Seven Days.

The feds are refusing to pay the state a promised $1.3 million toward heroin enforcement until Justice Department officials are convinced that Vermont is in compliance with federal law, according to Silverman. Another two grants, for about $480,000 each, are also on hold.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Vermont Judge Issues No-Stalking Order Against GOP Operative Stuart Stevens

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 3:27 PM

Mitt Romney (left) and Stuart Stevens talking aboard the Romney campaign plane in October 2012 - AP PHOTO/CHARLES DHARAPAK
  • Ap Photo/charles Dharapak
  • Mitt Romney (left) and Stuart Stevens talking aboard the Romney campaign plane in October 2012
Updated at 6:29 p.m.

A Vermont judge has found that Stuart Stevens, a national political consultant and the architect of Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) 2012 presidential campaign, inflicted “emotional distress” on a Stowe woman through a yearlong barrage of unwanted communications.

Superior Court Judge Megan Shafritz issued a no-stalking order against Stevens last Friday, barring him from contacting or approaching the woman, Paige Hinkson, until July 2019. Stevens had been subject to a temporary no-stalking order since last June, when Hinkson filed her initial complaint; it was extended five times.

In her ruling, Shafritz wrote that Stevens had called or texted Hinkson or her husband, Craig DeLuca, 151 times between April 2017 and March 2018 — often late at night and always from a blocked phone number. The judge also found that Stevens stared Hinkson down at a Stowe café, sent DeLuca a threatening package and engaged in other behavior that led Hinkson to appear “frightened and distraught” in court.

“I am petrified of Stuart Stevens and I desperately need the protection of this court,” Hinkson said during a hearing last June, according to court transcripts. In an interview Wednesday with Seven Days, she called the situation “excruciating” and said she’d been “living in terror because of Stuart Stevens.”

He has denied the allegations, arguing in court that he had never met Hinkson and wished her no harm. His lawyer, Craig Nolan, said in a written statement Wednesday that Shafritz's ruling included "numerous factual and legal errors." He said that Stevens would appeal the case to the Vermont Supreme Court.

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Friday, February 1, 2019

Bernie Sanders' Campaign Account Tops $9 Million

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2019 at 1:23 PM

Rep. Peter Welch and Sen. Bernie Sanders - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Rep. Peter Welch and Sen. Bernie Sanders
In the weeks following his reelection last year, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) continued to fundraise at a brisk pace, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Between November 27 and the end of December, Sanders collected close to $560,000 and spent nearly $250,000. He finished 2018 with roughly $9.1 million in his Senate campaign account.

Sanders, who is reportedly close to announcing a second run for president, could legally transfer the funds to a presidential campaign committee. A separate, mostly dormant account affiliated with his 2016 campaign had more than $4.7 million in it at the end of the year, according to another FEC filing. A third account under Sanders' control, the Progressive Voters of America political action committee, reported $125,000 in the bank.

Sanders' latest Senate campaign report shows that he kept his reelection team of roughly a dozen people on payroll at least through the end of the year. That included several people who are expected to play a role in a potential 2020 presidential bid: 2016 campaign manager Jeff Weaver, spokesperson Arianna Jones, Senate campaign manager Shannon Jackson and senior adviser Joshua Orton. (CNN reported last month that Weaver would not reprise his role as campaign manager but would likely serve in another capacity.)

The senator also paid a Des Moines political consulting firm $2,500 in December, according to the filing. The company, PAD Consulting, is run by Pete D'Alessandro, who was Sanders' Iowa campaign coordinator in 2016. D'Alessandro did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his current role.

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Sanders' Campaign Spending on Facebook Ads Surges

Posted By and on Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 4:53 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders in San Francisco - FILE: AP PHOTO/NOAH BERGER
  • File: AP Photo/Noah Berger
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders in San Francisco
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hasn’t announced that he's running for president in 2020, and members of his staff have been tight-lipped about his intentions. But if money talks, his campaign organization spoke up — loudly and suddenly — this month.

Friends of Bernie Sanders, the senator's campaign committee, spent big on Facebook ads in January after lying largely dormant for the last three months of 2018. The splurge hit a high of $45,908 last week, around the same time that Yahoo News reported Sanders will launch a presidential campaign "imminently."

The campaign's most recent big buy landed it in the top 20 for weekly political ad spending on Facebook, trailing companies such as ExxonMobil, advocacy groups such as MoveOn, and presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). Sanders' campaign spent a total of $85,439 on Facebook ads over the past four weeks.

Friends of Bernie Sanders staff did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday afternoon.

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Friday, January 25, 2019

Report: Bernie Sanders to Announce 2020 Presidential Run 'Imminently'

Posted By on Fri, Jan 25, 2019 at 9:10 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders - FILE: JAMES BUCK
  • File: James Buck
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
He's giving it another shot.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will announce another run for president "imminently," Yahoo News reported Friday evening. The outlet cited two unnamed sources with direct knowledge of Sanders' plans.

The senator "was emboldened by early polls of the race that have consistently showed him as one of the top candidates in a crowded Democratic primary field," Yahoo reported. That field already includes three of Sanders' colleagues in the U.S. Senate.

“What [Sanders] has this time that he didn’t have last time is, he is the most popular elected official in the country right now,” a source told Yahoo News. “That’s light years away from 2016, when very few people knew who he was.”

Shannon Jackson, a senior adviser on the Friends of Bernie Sanders political committee, declined to comment on the report Friday evening.

Sanders lost the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton. But he has established himself as one of the most popular politicians in the country. He won reelection to the U.S. Senate last November by a wide margin.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Defying Feds, State Offers Unemployment to Vermonters Working Without Pay

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 2:44 PM

Department of Labor Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Department of Labor Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle
Updated at 4:08 p.m.

As the longest-ever government shutdown drags on, Vermont will defy the Trump administration by providing unemployment benefits to federal employees who are working without pay.

On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott directed the Vermont Department of Labor to treat so-called "essential" federal employees the same as furloughed workers, who are already eligible for unemployment.

"It just seems preposterous that these folks are forced to work without receiving a check and are not eligible for unemployment," Vermont Labor Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle told Seven Days.

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Vermont Says Federal Workers Could Receive Aid for Food, Heat

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2019 at 1:30 PM

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management's website - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The U.S. Office of Personnel Management's website
Some federal employees affected by the partial government shutdown may qualify for assistance from aid programs in Vermont, state Department for Children and Families officials decided this week.

Sean Brown, deputy commissioner of DCF, said a federal employee inquired about benefits earlier in the week, prompting discussion that led to the decision.

“They have no ongoing expectation of income right now, with no end in sight for the shutdown,” Brown said.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Welch Named to House Intel Committee, Will Take Part in Trump-Russia Probe

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 2:17 PM

Rep. Peter Welch - FILE: JAMES BUCK
  • File: James Buck
  • Rep. Peter Welch
Updated at 5:15 p.m.

Vermont's sole delegate to the U.S. House is poised to play a significant role in a revived congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday named Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The panel oversees the nation's 17 intelligence entities, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is widely expected to reopen a shuttered probe of alleged ties between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government.

Welch said Wednesday that he had asked Pelosi for the appointment because he was “extremely concerned about the breakdown of this committee from its traditional, vital function.” He criticized its last chair, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), for politicizing the panel and using it to defend the president against what Welch sees as legitimate inquiries.

“In the past two years, what we’ve seen is that the committee has lost its way,” Welch said. “It really became, under Mr. Nunes, basically a political arm of the Trump administration.”

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