Mud-Slinging, Dirty Politics? | Freyne Land

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mud-Slinging, Dirty Politics?

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2007 at 5:06 PM

Big day for Ian Carleton, the chairman of the Vermont Democratic Party, and a man who would be king one day, eh?

First he was in The Burlington Free Press, by virtue of the fact that in his day-job, Attorney Carleton represents a Mary Fanny orthopedic surgeon charged with sexual assault.

Then bright and early at 8:15 a.m. [he had a client-mediation session at 9 a.m.], Democrat Chairman Carleton kicked off his presser at Democracy for America headquarters [the old Dean for America HQ in South Burlington] where he questioned the "ethics" of three-term Republican Gov. Jim Douglas. Gentleman Jim?


Because Gov. Scissorhands' Administration has awarded a $70,000, six-month Washington lobbying contract to a mostly GOP-connected Washington lobbying firm - Dutko Worldwide. I know, it sounds like a furniture-moving company, doesn't it?

Head-scratcher Ross Sneyd from VPR, Nancy Remsen from the Freeps and Kristin Carlson from Ch. 3 also showed up.

Had this nice little back-and-forth with the Democrat Party Chairman, who among many things, called the Dutko contract "an inappropriate, hasty, no-bid decision by the Governor."

However, there's been no complaint whatsoever from our congressional delegation over it.

CARLETON: The lobbyists that Gov. Douglas has chosen through a no-bid process do not appear to represent the kind of politics that Vermonters want to practice.

FREYNE. You’re insinuating over and over that this is "dirty politics," but you won’t say it. But your insinuating it a half-dozen different ways. Right?

CARLETON: What I’ve said is what I’ve said.

FREYNE. I know what you’ve said is what you’ve said, but if I were to report that the chairman of the Democratic Party accused the Douglas Administration of using “dirty politics” would I be correct or would I be incorrect?

CARLETON: I think that that’s a strong statement.

FREYNE. But would I be correct or not?

CARLETONNo. I think that would be an exaggeration of my statement right now. I’m not outright accusing...let’s put it this way.

Gov. Douglas has made a political career out of convincing people that he is a moderate, common-sense, reasonable guy. This contract does not manifest those characteristics. This is a different kind of Jim Douglas. This is somebody who without consulting Vermonters, without offering an open process, is directing money toward people who were part of the vast conservative right-wing agenda that has brought so much destruction on our country for the last five or six years.

I’m not accusing Jim Douglas himself of being part of that overall demise. What I’m saying is he is directing Vermonters’ taxpayer dollars towards people who apparently were.

The Guv's spokesman, Jason Gibbs {below right] responded to the Democrat Party Chairman's press-conference attack via an e-mail. Here's an excerpt:

"The Attorney General (a Democrat) approved the contract early this week and it has been signed.

"Our focus is navigating the tangled morass of Washington and its incessant partisan sniping and having someone there to help us do that is the right thing to do.  Up to $70,000 seems like a reasonable investment of resources in order to fight for more than $30 million in health care resources, including more than $21 million for children with special needs. 

"Compare this investment to the $1.4 million the democrats just blew on defending an unconstitutional law and their effort to pass another one just like it in the last session.  Or, compare this investment to the $26,000 the Speaker paid to former Democrat Representative Paul Cillo to produce, according to the Speaker herself, absolutely no formal work product—nothing, nada, zip[1].

"Or, you could compare this investment to the more than tens of thousands of dollars the Legislature has spent in the last few years on over-priced consultants to duplicate the work that the state’s more than 9,000 employees are more than capable of doing.  Or compare it to the tens of thousands of dollars the Speaker wasted to have the entire House in session while Cindy Sheehan occupied their chamber for a day."

Hey, why can't we all just get along, eh?

On a lighter note....Thanks, John Gregg.


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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

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