Dubie’s “list” of offenders doesn’t exist

Brian Dubie at a Bennington debate, Sept. 23, 2010

Republican Lt. Brian Dubie’s campaign is working hard to portray Sen. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, as a politician who is soft on crime.

At a press conference a week ago Monday, Dubie alleged that Shumlin’s plan to cut $40 million from the Department of Corrections budget is “reckless” and will result in the release of child pornographers and drug dealers.

Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon told the press that Shumlin’s proposal could put murderers and rapists on the streets. He said 20 percent of nonviolent offenders who are released from jail commit violent crimes. Those crimes, he said, could include rape and murder.

Shortly after the press conference, the Dubie campaign launched negative ads and 75,000 robotic calls to Vermont households assailing the state senator’s plan.

The campaign attacks also include a recent lapse in probity: At a debate in Bennington, Dubie held up what he said was a list of offenders who would be released if Shumlin is elected governor. The “list” was actually an explanation of Vermont’s criminal statutes.

Read Susan Bush’s story about the Bennington debate.

Listen to the robotic call.

Lauzon’s remarks at the presser

So, what’s all the fuss about?

Shumlin says he wants to offer substance abuse programs and mental health counseling for nonviolent offenders as a way of keeping low-level criminals, such as pot smokers and people who write bad checks, out of jail. These nonviolent, convicted criminals would be “transitioned” out of the prison system over time, after they have served their sentences, according to Shumlin. (UPDATE: Under Vermont law, any crime involving the sexual exploitation of children, including child pornography, is defined as a violent offense.)

Peter Shumlin gives victory speech, Sept. 10, 2010

Shumlin says his plan will reduce Corrections spending by $40 million over a four-year period. Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, recently told VTdigger.org that “justice reinvestment” programs would cost $15 million to $20 million. (The Corrections budget has doubled from $70 million to $140 million over the last decade, according to figures from the department.)

Andy Pallito, commissioner of the Department of Corrections, is already looking to save $5.4 million through the Challenges for Change government restructuring plan. He said those savings have been hard to come by, and he has said it wouldn’t be possible to find significant savings without closing at least one prison facility in Vermont.

Read the VTdigger.org story.

Dubie’s lapse

The Dubie campaign’s attacks reached full throttle at the Bennington debate last Thursday night when the lieutenant governor brandished what he said was a list of 780 offenders who would be released under Shumlin’s plan. For several minutes, he talked about the “individuals on that list,” and specifically cited child pornographers and drug dealers that appeared among the offenders he said the department had identified.

Here is what Dubie said:

I called the commissioner of corrections and I said, could you give me a list of who the 780 inmates that the judges of Vermont, the judges and our entire corrections system made a judgment that they need to be incarcerated? Not me, not my opponent, the judges who work for you. These are the 780 individuals that are on that list. On this list, there are people who deal with pornography with children, there are drug dealers, there’s a comprehensive list of who these people are. That’s what my ad says; that’s what the list is.

The only trouble is, Pallito didn’t give Dubie a “list” of 780 offenders.

Paul Tencher, coordinated campaign manager for the Vermont Democratic Party asked Pallito in an e-mail if he had given Dubie a list of prisoners. In his response, Pallito wrote that he sent Dubie a memo to lawmakers from the last legislative session that cites statutory definitions for violent and nonviolent criminals — not a list of 780 inmates that Dubie has said would be released under Shumlin’s proposal. The message was forwarded to VTdigger.org and the Bennington Banner.

Corry Bliss, Dubie’s campaign manager, acknowledged the lieutenant governor’s lapse but refused to speak with VTdigger.org on Sunday night. Bliss told Bennington Banner reporter Neal Goswami on Friday: “The lieutenant governor misspoke, but he has had several conversations with the commissioner about who the 780 non-violent offenders are.” Pallito didn’t return calls for comment.

Watch the video clip of Dubie with the “list” at the Bennington debate.

(Editor’s note: This video was posted on youtube by the Vermont Democratic Party.)

“No way to balance the budget”

The Dubie campaign placed 75,000 robotic calls Monday featuring Mayor Lauzon warning that “putting 800 non-violent criminals into our neighborhoods is no way to balance the budget.”

Read the press release from the Dubie campaign.

In the pre-recorded call, Lauzon cites a quote from Steve Howard, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, who told Seven Days he isn’t in “100 percent” agreement with Shumlin’s plan to cut $40 million from Corrections.

“The No. 1 job of government is to keep Vermonters safe,” Lauzon says. “Peter Shumlin’s plan to cut $40 million from the state corrections budget by releasing nearly 800 non-violent criminals is simply dangerous. Peter Shumlin’s plan is so reckless that even members of his own party are criticizing it.”

Steve Howard, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor

Howard, who lives in Rutland City between a drug treatment house and a residence for inmates who are under the supervision of probation and parole, said Dubie is “using ugly, Karl Rove”-style tactics to distract voters from his record as lieutenant governor. “I think that’s despicable, and I think Vermonters see through.”

“Peter Shumlin is trying to get control of the No. 2 budget buster in our state,” Howard said. “Brian Dubie is using George Bush-style tactics to scare people.”

Howard said he wouldn’t support cutting $40 million from the Corrections budget “no matter who proposed it.”

“My understanding is, that’s not what (Shumlin’s) proposing,” Howard said. “This is an area where we have to have greater public investment in order to save money. If we make these investments (transitional housing, mental health substance abuse counseling), then we’ll see $40 million eventually in savings.”

UPDATE: Thom Lauzon’s comments were clarified, and video from the presser was added 6:15 a.m. Wed., Sept. 29.

Anne Galloway

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29 Comments on "Dubie’s “list” of offenders doesn’t exist"

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Ken Dean
5 years 9 months ago
For the record, and should be posted here verbatim, Lt Governor candidate Steve Howard’s official statement, released late last night 9/27/2010. —————————————— Steve Howard’s Statement on Brian Dubie’s Negative Campaign Tactics Rutland, VT – Today, Brian Dubie did it again. After 8 years of failed economic policies that have cost too many Vermonters their jobs, Brian is trying to distract the voters from his record of losing 10,000 private sector jobs and 8 years of broken promises and misguided priorities. I will have no part in these ugly, negative Karl Rove style political attacks on my friend Peter Shumlin. The… Read more »
Doug Hoffer
5 years 9 months ago

“a lapse in probity”

nicely put Anne

it kind of reminds me of a stunt by U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy over 50 years ago (“I have in my pocket a list…”)

if this wasn’t so serious, we could all have a good laugh

Ken Dean
5 years 9 months ago
One of the great sages in Vermont, on countless issues, especially corrections, is Con Hogan. He has served many Vermont Governors with distinction. Governor Richard Snelling, Governor Howard Dean, and Governor Jim Douglas, to name a few. All three Governors loved his work. Ask them. He has been on bi-partisan panels, seeking thoughtful bi-partisan solutions on the corrections issue. He is considered by most, to be an independent thinking Vermont Republican. A wise one, much like George Aiken of Putney,VT. His recent comments have been posted elsewhere, and can be found here, in case you missed them. Essential reading. “HOGAN:… Read more »
Gene Blodgett
5 years 9 months ago

SHAMEFULL

5 years 9 months ago

Every criminal who we are paying for their incareration all have one thing in common. They were once kids. We can “save” all the money we want but if we don’t provide apropriate palatable activities for our youth, there’s no reason to believe any reversal of the prison trend will happen. Every school district that unionized downsized from 4 or 5 division three schools to 1 division one school. Thousands of Vermont athletes on a team one year, next year, no team. all these kids now get to pass around something other then a ball.

Patrick Cashman
5 years 9 months ago
Mr. Howard doesn’t agree with Mr. Dubie’s message, got it. But in the desperate scramble to demonstrate party loyalty, let’s not forget that neither does he agree with Mr. Shumlin’s plan. From the 23 Sept 7Days interview with Mr. Howard on the subject: …he (Howard) said the state should find other ways to cut corrections costs, \not by releasing prisoners.\…\I wouldn’t agree with Sen. Shumlin on that plan,\ Howard said. \I live in Rutland. I started a neighborhood association because of an increase in crime. I don’t necessarily agree with his approach 100 percent.\…Howard said Vermont communities like Rutland, Barre,… Read more »
Bob Stannard
5 years 9 months ago
I recently received the robo-call from Mayor Lauzon on behalf of the Brian Dubie for Governor Campaign. I was struck with how over-the-top negative it was. It was the sort of scare tactics I would expect to see in other, larger states, but not hear in Vermont. Over the past two weeks (yes, this campaign is really only two weeks old) we have heard Brian Dubie say that he would cut programs for the most vulnerable. The next day his campaign manager, Corry Bliss, had to say that his candidate misspoke. A week later when discussing the closing of the… Read more »
barbara morrow
5 years 9 months ago

It appears to me that the more out-of-state money and interest that flows to these campaigns, the more negativity and hi-jinks we have. Part of the new reality, I suppose. I just can’t seem to get over the gall of holding up a sheaf of paper and proclaiming with such strength that it is a list of possible parollees. Man, where does that kind of desperation come from?

5 years 9 months ago
There are at least three possibilities that come to mind in the most general of ways and, there are most likely others worthy of consideration, with which to attempt to understand or explain this latest lapse on the part of Lt. Governor and Republican candidate for Governor Brian Dubie: 1. Other than having made the initial request for the document as he had stated, after not receiving what was requested, he knowingly lied and made the rest up in an attempt to deceive debate attendees and the press covering the event by passing off the document as something it was… Read more »
Daphne Larkin
5 years 9 months ago

I am consistently astonished when a person really thinks they can get away with lying – most especially those accountable to the public.

John Fairbanks
5 years 9 months ago

You are so young, Daphne . . . 🙂

Steven Farnham
5 years 9 months ago
It is about time we put this non-violent offender question in sensible perspective. An acquaintance of mine (who shall remain nameless) is a fundamentalist religious extremist who firmly advocates corporal punishment (spanking) as a means to discipline children. Back when I associated with this particular individual it seemed to me that spankings were administered early and often to children in his household for what appeared to me to be breathtakingly petty offenses. Suppose spankings cost money. Suppose it cost this acquaintance of mine a thousand dollars (out of his own pocket) every time he spanked any child. Do you suppose… Read more »
marc awodey
5 years 9 months ago

dubie’s list trick is straight out of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE ‘this is a list of 57 communists in the defense department…’ the number 57 was selected at random from a bottle of steak sauce in the movie. prior to that, earlier in the 50s nixon used the same list idea in his house un-American affairs committee- holding up a bogus list. guess it’s in the republican DNA…

John Fairbanks
5 years 9 months ago

Actually, the movie makers lifted it from Sen. Joe McCarthy’s infamous Wheeling, WV, speech in February, 1950, to which I alluded in the previous post. But your point is correct.

John Fairbanks
5 years 9 months ago

\I have here in my hand . . . \ Good Lord, can’t we at least come up with a better one than that?

Dubie Dude, Joe McCarthy died in well-deserved disgrace in 1957.

Ken Dean
5 years 9 months ago

(16) responses… and still pouring in !!

Thank you Brian Dubie for getting us all talking
and sharing (:>)) !!!

A dream come true! And it will all help Shumlin!
All of us will have to write letters to Corry Bliss, and thank him! Brilliant ladd! Keep going!

walter carpenter
5 years 9 months ago
“All of us will have to write letters to Corry Bliss, and thank him! Brilliant ladd! Keep going!” LOL, Ken, great idea. I liked how Corry, who is from Virginia, had “could not be reached,” and later said that Dubie “Misspoke.” This should circulate around about Dubie’s fake lists. It is surreal that he would try to get away with that. “As a society we have become like this maniacal acquaintance of mine. We hand out the severest penalties—including prison sentences—as though they (and the associated court costs) are free, when in fact, they are not.” Steven: Right on. What… Read more »
Barbara Donaldson
5 years 9 months ago

Where will the money come from for the transition houses and programs? It seems that it will cost money to implement and sustatin this program. Therefore it is difficult for me to see a total savings.

THe approval for such a plan/move is not in the hands of Schumlin-the approval lies with the legislature-so how can Schumlin say he will do this, he may propose or suggest it, but nothing happens without cooperation from the House/Senate. Same goes for plans that Dubie has in mind. He can propose or suggest but nothing happens unless the legislature cooperates.

Ken Dean
5 years 9 months ago
Barbara, you raise some excellent points, both needing clarity and some hard data, ideally from more than footnoted bi-partisan sources. Will try to share some key information. ONE. If we keep all Vermont inmates in prison, Vermont tax payers pick up the tab. A tab increasingly out of control. If we identify, in a thoughtful bi-partisan way, some authentically non-violent offenders, and place them in community based rehabilitation centers, the federal government picks up, not 100% of the tab, but a very large portion. We would be a fool, not to take advantage of that option in a wise manner.… Read more »
Robert Roper
5 years 9 months ago
The problem with Shumlin’s “plan” is that he arrives at the $40 million in savings by taking 780 non-violent offenders x $51,000 per year = $39,780,000 (plus, I guess, finding a couple hundred grand under the sofa cushions in the prison lounge). But, that means to realize the savings Shumlin promises, we will have to be spending NOTHING — zero, zip, nada — on those 780 prisoners within one to four years. That means nothing for jail cells, nothing for jailors, nothing for transitioning programs. So, Shumlin’s clearly full of it as far as presenting a realistic, workable plan here.… Read more »
walter carpenter
5 years 9 months ago

“So, Shumlin’s clearly full of it as far as presenting a realistic, workable plan here.”

Shumlin’s plan is far more workable than Dubie’s non-plan. If we do nothing about it now, the expense for it, along with health care, will just overwhelm the state’s ability to pay for it. Con Hogan is right: Shumlin’s plan can work. Also, this $40 million or so will come in over time as these non-violent offenders gradually make the transitions.

Ken Dean
5 years 9 months ago
When the second Vermont Governor from Putney, Vermont , Peter Shumlin, takes office in January, he will have several bright and talented people to draw from, to formulate his visionary proposals into thoughtful detailed legislation, help Vermont save money and budget resources wisely. Build for the future. One ideal team to take on this corrections issue, and come up with a great plan of detailed implementation for first, second, third, and fourth year, would be Susan Bartlett and Con Hogan. Two of Vermont’s finest gems. No one knows budget and corrections issues collectively, inside and out, better than these two.… Read more »
Robert Roper
5 years 9 months ago
Ken & Walter — No doubt the corrections issue is something that must be looked at. Better transitioning programs are certainly worth exploring. However, Shumlin’s corrections plan cannot be looked at in isolation. It is, according to his Vision for Vermont, THE funding mechanism for a huge chunk of his economic development plan. A “cornerstone” to use his own word. Given that the economy is the number one issue facing Vermonters at present, it seems highly relevant that the $33 million necessary to fund the cornerstone of Shumlin’s economic development plan isn’t there, and won’t be for at least four… Read more »
Ken Dean
5 years 9 months ago
Rob ~~You are a pretty loyal Republican operative, so i will not quote a Democrat. Will quote a Republican. “One of Peter’s qualities is he gets things done. He makes me a little nervous. That is why I am running for Governor.” ~~ Lt Governor Brian Dubie / St Albans Debate 9/21/2010/ quoted in Burlington Free Press article 9/22/2010 Thanks for the endorsement Brian! Very nice! Bi-partisan endorsements on Peters qualities are always good. And this one is spot on. Thank you Brian Dubie. One of the qualities people know, people see, and people agree on, Peter Shumlin gets things… Read more »
Townsend Peters
5 years 9 months ago

Dubie held up a document at a debate and lied about what it said. What else will he fib about?

Another reason why I’m Dubious about Dubie.

walter carpenter
5 years 9 months ago
“No doubt the corrections issue is something that must be looked at. Better transitioning programs are certainly worth exploring. However, Shumlin’s corrections plan cannot be looked at in isolation. It is, according to his Vision for Vermont, THE funding mechanism for a huge chunk of his economic development plan.” Rob, as Ken said, “You are a pretty loyal Republican operative,” so it is pretty clear where you are coming from. The corrections issue is just one part of Shumlin’s economic plans. Health care, for example, is another. Both are dissolving the state budgets faster than we can pay for them.… Read more »
walter carpenter
5 years 9 months ago

“Another reason why I’m Dubious about Dubie”

Good one, Townsend. Has a certain ring to it:)

Robert Roper
5 years 9 months ago
“The corrections issue is just one part of Shumlin’s economic plans. Health care, for example, is another. ” Yes it is. And, as with Universal Pre-K, how is Shumlin proposing to pay for it? When the legislature looked at this back in 2005, the answer was $2 billion in new payroll taxes (a 28% payroll tax if I recall correctly). But, Shumlin has promised not to raise taxes. Where does the money come from to implement this other cornerstone of his economic development plan? Of course that question is rendered moot by the fact that we would need a federal… Read more »
Ken Dean
5 years 9 months ago
Rob ~~ There are two candidate debates in less than 24hrs. Vermont League of Cites and Towns at 9AM-10:30AM, and later in the day, Vermont Public Television 7:30PM to 9PM, which will be televised live, state wide. Both slated for Thurs Oct 7th. Just hours away. If you, and other Republican chums, really do not understand the details, thoughtfulness and wisdom of Peter Shumlin’s Vision for Vermont plan, how it will be financed, and how it will help Vermont in countless ways, have Brian Dubie ask Peter about it, live on the air, just hours from now. Senator Shumlin would… Read more »
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