Donovan insists that the Vermont attorney general ask for removal of political action committee ad


Bill Sorrell got a boost today as a new campaign ad hit the airwaves praising the incumbent attorney general’s record. The ad, paid for by the Committee for Justice and Fairness PAC, is getting almost $100,000 worth of airtime, according to filings with the Secretary of State’s office.

TJ Donovan, the Chittenden County state’s attorney running against Sorrell in the Democratic primary for the state’s top law enforcement office, said there isn’t much that’s just and fair about it.

The ad features the voice of former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean. The prominent Democrat talks about Sorrell’s consumer protection record as media headlines favorable to Sorrell appear over photos of the attorney general giving speeches.

“I’m proud to call Bill Sorrell my friend,” Dean concludes, “but more proud to call him Vermont’s attorney general.”

While it never says “vote for Bill Sorrell,” the text on the screen as the ad comes to a close says Sorrell’s name above “Democratic Primary, Tuesday, August 28th.”

According to WCAX records, the Committee for Justice and Fairness paid $46,835 to run the 30-second spot 212 times between Aug. 10 and Aug. 28, the day of the primary. Sources say the ad will be run on WPTZ as well. Dana Bykowski, treasurer of the Committee for Justice and Fairness PAC, was not able to elaborate on the specifics of the $99,000 expenditure.

Donovan says the ad is in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision as well as a recent decision by Judge William Sessions in Vermont’s federal district court.

Donovan said the $99,000 ad buy came just 16 days after Sorrell issued a statement that his office would not enforce the state’s limit on independent expenditures in light of new case law. The state’s campaign finance law treats independent expenditures and direct contributions the same.

“I think the issue here is the proximity of the attorney general’s decision on July 25 and now a television ad two to three weeks later,” Donovan said. “This is the closest race Attorney General Sorrell has been in. It seems in the interest of fairness that this ad should be taken down.”

The Committee for Justice and Fairness PAC has strong affiliations with the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA), a national group of Democratic state attorneys general of which Sorrell is a member. Bykowski called DAGA a “major contributor.”

While DAGA has maxed out the $6,000 limit on direct campaign contributions to Sorrell’s campaign, the group’s funding of the Committee for Justice and Fairness allowed them to back Sorrell independently as well.

“Currently, [the Democratic Attorneys General Association is] a major donor for the Committee for Justice & Fairness PAC, advocating on behalf of Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell,” Bykowski said in a statement to the media.

Despite Donovan’s call for the attorney general to ask the Committee for Justice and Fairness to withdraw the ad, Sorrell has no such plans.

“Truly independent expenditures are unlimited under state and federal law,” Sorrell said. “The last thing I would do is try to ask them to restrict the exercise of their First Amendment free speech rights.”

Sorrell said that while he is well aware and grateful that both DAGA and Dean fully support his campaign, he had no idea about the TV spot before today.

“I don’t know,” Sorrell said. “I haven’t seen the ad. I didn’t know there was an ad until I got a voicemail from Channel 3 this morning. I’m told the ad is a positive ad about my record.”

In an interview, Sorrell suggested that Donovan’s complaints come from a lack of familiarity with Vermont’s laws.

“Of course, maybe he’s not familiar with chapter and verse of our campaign finance laws, but if it was truly independent,” Sorrell said, the spending was legal.

“For a PAC that doesn’t do mixed expenditures but does solely independent expenditures, they may not be held to individual contributor maximum limits,” Sorrell said.

Donovan’s complaints weren’t over the legality of the issue, but rather the spirit of the race. He said large outside expenditures on behalf of a candidate in Vermont was not the way Vermont campaigns should be run. The attorney general campaign should be run, Donovan said, as a grassroots effort supported by Vermonters.

“Ninety nine thousand dollars from a Washington, D.C., organization is more money than Attorney General Sorrell has raised from Vermonters,” he said.

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  • Stan Hopson

    Lighten up Francis.

  • Christian Noll

    Of course Howard Dean is “proud.”

    His mother used to play Bridge with Bill Sorrell’s mother.

    Why do you think he’s always endorsed him. In fact, its Howard’s fault.

    15 years is too long. Bill Sorrell turned our AG’s Civil “Rights” Unit into a sham, AND a shame.

    Time to move on Bill.

    No more police and correctional staff misconduct in Vermont.

    You’re here to protect us, not our attackers.

    Vote for TJ Donovan for Vermont’s next Attorney General.

  • Eric Davis

    According to its Web site, the Democratic Attorney Generals Association is based in Denver, CO. From the Web site, it appears that the DAGA will support all incumbent Democratic AGs in both primary and general elections. It’s unclear from the Web site whether the DAGA is involved in any Democratic primaries other than in VT. Sorrell appears to be the only Democratic AG who is facing a primary challenge, although there have been contested Democratic primaries in several states where the AG office is open this year.

    The Web site opensecrets.org allows one to search the database of contributions to “527” organizations such as the DAGA. A quick glance at that contribution list shows that almost all the money the DAGA received comes from law firms, organizations, and corporations, with hardly any contributions from individuals.

    Here are the recent sources of contributions of $50,000 to the DAGA according to opensecrets.org:

    Office Depot
    Comcast Financial Agency Corp
    Citigroup (contributed at least $100,000)
    Nix, Patterson, and Roach LLP [a law firm in Texas that represents plaintiffs in civil litigation]
    Rent a Center
    United Food and Commercial Workers Union
    Baron and Budd, PC [a law firm in Texas that represents plaintiffs in mesothelioma cases]
    Barroway, Topaz, Kessler, Meltzer, and Check [a law firm in Philadelphia and San Francisco that represents institutional investor plaintiffs in securities cases]
    David Bohnett [a tech entrepreneur and philanthropist in California]
    Labaton, Sucharow, and Rudoff LLP [a NY law firm that represents plaintiffs in corporate governance issues]

    It’s not surprising that the plaintiffs’ bar supports the DAGA. It’s also not suprising that tech and financial services firms, that could be the subject of AG investigations on issues such as privacy and fraud, will also give money to the DAGA – the door to the AG’s office might be a little more open to donors than to non-donors. Same for Monsanto – trying to head off AG investigations on genetically-modified food, etc.

    Recent Supreme Court decisions do allow organizations such as the DAGA to spend as much money as they want on independent campaigns at both the federal and state levels. However, voters deserve as much information as possible about the sources of contributions to these independent campaigns.

  • Eric Davis

    If T.J. Donovan were elected Attorney General in 2012, and if he were in a competitive race for re-election sometime in the future, how would be respond if his challenger called a press conference asking him to disavow support from the DAGA and its affliates’ independent expenditure campaigns?

  • Eric Davis

    Earlier this year, at least 19 Democratic attorneys general – members of the DAGA – submitted a brief to the US Supreme Court saying that the Court should hear a case from Montana involving that state’s laws attempting to limit corporate contributions and independent expenditure campaigns in state elections.

    At the end of June, the Supreme Court summarily overturned the Montana state law, relying on Citizens United as a precedent.

    It is most ironic that the organization representing the AGs who argued in the Supreme Court for restrictions on corporate-funded independent expenditure campaigns has set up “The Committee for Justice and Fairness” – the very sort of organization they opposed in their brief.

  • Liz Martin

    I find it interesting that TJ is making this an issue. First of all, TJ is fighting to become an Attorney General – thus joining the ranks of all of the DAGA members (right?).

    Second, TJ spent $10,000 of his money to an outside source in D.C. to run a political poll. While there is no way to compare the $99,000 the $10,000 that he spent, I would like to point out that he chose to outsource that money to help his campaign. As Bill said, he had no knowledge of the television ad. The ad does not taint TJ’s record, it doesn’t even mention him. In fact, I think it’s kind of refreshing to see a political ad that doesn’t use negativity to sell a candidates, well, candidacy.

    Since it is DAGA that basically paid for this ad, I don’t necessarily see an issue with this. The awful thing about “Super PACs” is that once they use money to independently pay for an ad for a candidate, then that candidate is kind of stuck and might have to then support whatever agenda the PAC is pushing. I don’t really see that happening here since DAGA has already honored Bill at a national level for his work as Attorney General, and Bill is already a member.

    In “the spirit of the race,” Mr. Donovan, don’t you think you should continue to move forward with your campaign and not turn this positive ad into a negative issue, particularly since you argued that you were already running a positive campaign? If you want them (the PAC) to release their donors, ask them, not Bill. I don’t think Bill can ask them to do that since it is a PAC situation; if there is collaboration between the two, then it is no longer in line with Vermont’s election laws and policies. Bill would, instead, be in violation of Vermont’s election laws, wouldn’t he? (Please, correct me if I am misunderstanding Vermont’s election laws…)

  • Amelia Silver

    That’s a lot of money for a very insipid ad! But I understand that’s not the point. Eric Davis makes the point when he refers to the irony of DAGA setting up a committee the nature of which they opposed. It’s beyond irony, it’s disingenuous, and hypocritical. But I guess the AG hopes and imagines the people of Vermont won’t notice. I hope he’s wrong.

  • Julie Hansen

    If Mr. Donovan is elected he will be a member of DAGA and will benefit from their tradition of supporting Democratic AGs.

    This was a surprise to everyone, but I can’t imagine anyone running for office would turn down an ad that is not negative about their opponent, and in fact does not even mention the opponent.

    I am not sure irony is quite the right word choice in this circumstance. It is how the system works. Recall that President Obama switched his position on campaign finance half way through his campaign.

    I do not see hypocrisy here either. Mr. Sorrell did not solicit the funds or the ad. DAGA supports Attorneys General in the United States.

    Will Mr. Donavon turn that support down if he is elected?

  • Michael Keane

    Mr. Sorrell receives a boost from the very organization that Mr. Donovan is dying to join. What’s the problem? DAGA appears independently to be using the tools at its disposal as it sees fit to do. That’s neither disingenuous nor hypocritical nor unfair, if it’s within the law.

    If we don’t like the law, that’s another matter.

  • Scott McCarty

    What I have a problem is that in several debates — Bill has said that he believes Citizens United was a bad ruling by the Supreme Court. Now, he is embracing it with unlimited amounts of money coming into the race.

    T.J. will just have to work harder than Bill in the race (which is already doing) and prove that he is a better candidate and a better choice for Attorney General (which is is already doing).

  • Bob Stannard

    The candidate running against the incumbent Attorney General held a press conference condemning the use of a Super PAC in what most would perceive as a reasonably positive ad in support of the incumbent.

    In the comments section of this story Eric Davis seems to imply that ads such as this are now allowed, because of a recent court decision and says that it’s ironic that the organization that fought Super PACs is now using them.

    First, and perhaps most important is that they are both mistaken.  The DAGA does not have a Super PAC.  This ad was paid for through a 527.  You may recall a group known as the Swift Boaters.  They used a 527 in elections prior to the Robert’s court ruling that changed the world of campaign finance for the worse.  Davis acknowledges the 527, but then says the expenditures for this ad are the result of the recent Supreme Court’s decision, which is not accurate.

    Now, let’s look at the “irony”.  President Obama is firm in his opposition to Super PACs, yet he is now accepting their support.  Do his supporters truly believe that he should sit back and let the 1% spend a billion dollars against him and not fight back using the distasteful tools now allowed?  He would be a fool to do so.  She he, or others, take this posture than they are simply handing over the keys to those who can’t wait to drive off leaving the rest in the dust.

    It’s not ironic at all.  You can’t protect the values you cherish if you don’t participate in the process.  The only way to defeat big money in politics is to elect people who will work to rid the process of big money.  Not using the tools provided guarantees defeat.  Other than making a point what else has been accomplished?

    Campaign finance law is complicated enough without candidates and experts making it more confusing.

  • Michael Keane

    I keep wondering what my problem is with this primary, and I think I have discovered it: both candidates are running for the same job title, but… but… but….

    I get the sense that one candidate appears to be running for a different job description—Chief Executive Officer or Chief Information Officer of something or other, but whatever it is, it doesn’t sound like what a state Attorney General’s job description is. Could someone please enlighten me?

    • Christian Noll

      Michael sure, I’d be glad to help.

      There is a great deal of ambiguity in the job of AG itself. His job is to enforce the states laws and rests as our chief law enforcement officer.

      The AG may enforce the laws of the state in a variety of ways and his discretion is vast. HOW he or she enforces those laws will say what kind of person they are.

      For example the three preceeding AG’s prior to B. Sorrell exemplify a policy shift in that B. Sorrell initiated himself. This shift represents defending the state (even when unequivially in the wrong) instead of its tax paying citizens, thus threatening their civil rights.

      There is a built in conflict of interest (something Vermont scored a flat ZERO in) with the position of Vermont’s AG’s office. The conflict of interest is best exemplyfied by B. Sorrell’s tenure in fact. If you look at the number of civil rights cases and police and correctional staff misconduct caes, you can easily see a steady rise in these types of incidents. I wonder why?

      Describing WHAT Vermont’s AG office IS as opposed to what it SHOULD or COULD be, is in fact two entirely different things.

      I think what TJ Donovan is trying to show us is that we can bring back integrity to state employment (INCLUDING police and corrections) and not deny our peaceful hard working tax payers their civil rights. B. Sorrell has not only failed here but has gone in completely the opposite direction and much to his own demise.

      BECAUSE of B. Sorrell we’ve achieved the highest police misconduct rate in the nation per capita of police officers (NPMSRP/2009.) Not only was Vermont the highest, but three and a half times the national average. BECAUSE of B. Sorrell Vermont scored 49th in the nation for governmental integrity according to the Better Government Associations Alper Integrity Index.

      So maybe you could help ME Mike. How could we let this happen? Lastly, until its happend to you, who cares really.

      It happened to me and our Attorney General failed. He denied me my civil rights and made a complete mockery of our constitution and any “Equal” Employment Opportunity.

      As far as I’m concerned Mr Sorrell is the devil reincarnated and the sooner we can get him out of office, the better. 15 years is too long anyway for any office, let alone Vermont’s chief law enforcement officer.

      • Liz Martin

        Mr. Noll, do you also believe that Senator Leahy should be removed or unseated, too? He’s been in office twice as long as Mr. Sorrell. The longer you are in office, the more seniority you gain, and the more you can accomplish because of your breadth of experience and respect.

        If Mr. Donovan is trying to bring back integrity to the Office of the Attorney General, could you explain Mr. Donovan’s track record with plea bargains? He seems to be quite well-known for just letting people off the hook (think of the Burlington Telecom case), and he has said in the debates that he won’t argue before the Supreme Court and instead will outsource others to do so. Even the most seasoned attorney could lose a case against our current Supreme Court – one of the most conservative we have had in years.

        I’m certainly not trying to create an argument here, but it does concern me that we have a candidate who wants to be Attorney General who doesn’t have a great track record with litigation, and who doesn’t want to argue big cases.

        • Christian Noll

          Liz thanks,

          No I vote for Senator Leahy. He’s got my support, (so far.)I wouldn’t compare Mr Sorrell with Mr Leahy though. I just wouldn’t do it.

          “The longer you are in office, the more seniority you gain…”

          The longer you exist, the more seniority you gain Liz. Politics doesn’t have anything to do with it.

          Mr Donovan has a stellar platform to be running for our next Attorney General. I’m not sure where you get you information from but TJ Donovan has the vision and foresight to prosecute offenders SMARTLY and not just being “Tough.” Being “tough” on crime can also be stupid in many cases. Ref. Rod Mayo, Wayne Burwell, Macadam Mason, Levi Duclose and on, and on and on.

          There are many obsticals facing our justice system and TJ has the innovative braun and prosecutorial experience to bring about the changes we need in Vermont’s AG office.

          His use of plea-bargins shows that he knows better than most what is needed to bring about REAL CHANGES for the better of ALL our tax paying citizen, not just a chosen few.

          To my knowledge, he has let no one “off the hook” ever.

          Arguing “Big Cases” is important but can also be seen as a way to just create fan fair and publicity as to try and win elections. (That’s if you win them) There’s so much more to the AG’s office than just “arguing big cases.”

          TJ Donovan’s “Track record” is much better than you’ve been informed. In fact this whole election is ABOUT INFORMATION and/or the lack thereof.

          Please don’t be misinformed.

  • Steve Merrill

    So the ad says Sorrell “helped out Vt. Foreclosure Victims”? According to Pro-Publica, of the $2.5 Billion to 49 states in the national “settlement”, Vt. got $2.6 million and Bill said $200K was “dedicated” to a network of “counseling centers”, $300K went to “foreclosure assistance”, and the rest, some $2.1 million went to the state’s General Fund, YAY!! So nationally the “chump-change” $2.5 Billion “settlement” (remember WE bailed them out with $16 Trillion to the Fed) paid out $545.3 million to actual homeowners, $966.8 million to state’s General Funds, and $34.8 million for “investigations” for what we know not as it was “settled” out of court, no? To re-cap, Vt. got $2.6 Million, with an avg. delinquency rate of 4.56%, $500K to homeowners, $2 Million to the GenFund, $0 for investigations, and $0 “to be determined”. So how many Vermonters avoided being thrown out of their underwater homes, Bill? We’d love to hear exactly how many..SM, North Troy.

    • Liz Martin

      Normally, I think Propublica does a good job covering news. However, these numbers are… well, quite off, and I am wondering what their sources are?

      The national settlement was $25 billion, not $2.5.

      Vermont will be receiving $6.7 million, not $2.6 million. $3.1 million is to be used for financial relief for Vermonters, while $3.6 million is for the State to be used for housing-related purposes. The actual breakdown of those two numbers is on the website of the Attorney General, as well as a number of other news sources.

      These changes also can’t happen immediately, as unfortunate as that is. Something this large takes time (though I think it could have been larger, but considering America’s history with holding banks accountable, this is a great step).

  • Bob Stannard

    The last time I checked when any funds come into Vermont from anywhere they are distributed through the legislature. The House & Senate Appropriations Committees make these decisions. If there was money made available to the AG it was done so by the legislature.

    Even the 10’s of millions that Bill Sorrell has brought into the state through successful litigation must be allocated by the General Assembly.

  • Liz Martin

    Where is your evidence that the Sorrell campaign were aware of this ad? Regardless of how much you dislike Sorrell and/or his record, that’s a pretty bold statement with no factual basis that you’re making considering it would be illegal if Sorrell or any of his campaign staff knew about the ad.

  • Michael Keane

    Responding to Christian Noll above, I need to say that anyone who uses the term “devil reincarnated” to describe someone running for office, as Mr. Noll does, needs to be taken NOT with a grain of salt, but with a salt mine. That makes any statement suspect.

    Police officer misconduct is primarily the problem of chiefs of police. It would probably be the task of a local DA to prosecute those offenses. Police rank and file take their cue from their superior officers as to appropriate or allowed behavior, not from an AG. At least that’s what all the cops (and I use that word with respect) in my New York City Irish-Catholic family always say.

    Lastly, as far as I can see, the Better Government Association named New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Louisiana among the top five states in 2008 according to the following measures: open records, whistle blower protection, campaign finance, open meetings, and conflict of interest. Having lived in New Jersey for 19 years and having done business in Rhode Island and Louisiana numerous times, I would question the thoroughness with which BGA assessed NJ or LA, both of which have experienced corruption at many levels of government, that have been reported in local and national media too many times to count. If there are no clear laws and regulations in VT concerning open records, whistle blower protection, campaign finance, open meetings, and conflict of interest, that would be a problem first for the legislature to resolve, and then for an AG to enforce.

    Calling New Jersey, as BGA does, the most transparent state in its 2008 assessment of the 50 states’ government, tells me that either those doing the assessment were blind, or that they believed what they were told, without doing their own investigation. I’ll say the same about Louisiana.

    Based on its 2008 choices, I can hardly suppress a chuckle waiting for BGA’s next survey results.

    • Christian Noll

      Michael thanks.

      Adolf Hitler ran for office.

      Did you think individuals calling him “the devil reincarnated” were to not be taken serously also?

      Your remarks about police misconduct as being “primarily the problem of the chiefs of police” tells me you don’t know very much about police misconduct in Vermont.

      The Vergennes police cheif was caught stealing confiscated drugs out of the evidence locker and became dependent on them. Then he sold a gun which he also stole from the evidence locker to try and make some money to feed his illicit habit.

      The Burlington Police Chief engaged in flagrant harrassment of myself and then lied to me about a good thing that he had said. THEN the publicly recorded tape of the incident went missing. It earned him a spot on the back cover of my book.

      I humbly disagree and will state that police misconduct in Vermont is EVERYONE’S PROBLEM and not just the cheif’s. As we’ve seen during Mr Sorrell’s tenure, cheifs of police in Vermont are also perpitrators of misconduct.

      That’s why having the police investigate the police is stupid. I can’t believe we would trust any human being to be “investigated” by one of their own flock OR that it be eithical.

      If police get their “cues” from their superiors, who did James Deegan get his “cue” from? We should probably look into their pension calculations and previously reported “overtime” also.

      ITS NOT just a “onesy – twosy” thing. Its an entire culture that needs to CHANGE.

      Yes, I also noticed that New Jearsy easily beat Vermont in the BGA Alper Integrity Index. Why anyone would laugh or “chuckle” at that is beyond me. New Jersey did so because their industry dwarfs ours and has a collossal amount of regulation and open government laws which we don’t have.

      New Jersay has specific Whistle Blower protections which actually WORK and are actively enforced.

      Vermont does not.

      New Jersay has a very clear and concise Conflict of Interest Policy.

      Vermont does not.

      The Better Government Associations Alper Integrity Index is much more reputable than you’ve let on.

      If you disagree that’s fine but its really not funny Michael.

  • Dennis Shanley

    “The Committee for Justice and Fairness PAC”, Legally Correct – Morally Repugnant!!!

  • Julie Hansen

    Mr. Noll consistently alludes to police misconduct within the police force — not necessarily against alleged perpetrators of crime. Please correct me if that is not true, because the two seem to be different issues. If it is internal, what would be the mechanism to trigger the involvement of the AG. I am truly not arguing this point. I want to understand it. I have family members who are police in a different state and their issues are important to me.

    I was under the impression that Vermont recently created a whistleblower law. Mr. Noll, do you feel it is not strong enough or that no one trusts it? Or is it something else?

    I do want to hear this but it is very difficult to stay engaged in the conversation if one resorts to ad hominem strategies to win the point.

    I am pretty sure it will not deter me in my support of Mr. Sorrell, but I do want to hear the point you are making.


    • Christian Noll

      Julie Sure and thanks for asking.

      First, I study the police. That’s what I do. Many police hate this. They feel that I shouldn’t be doing it for some reason. I’ve been doing it for fourteen years and have traveled the world doing so. I have both my undergrad and masters in criminal justice and completed my post doc dissertations at the International Organization of Criminal Police, INTERPOL World Headquarters located in Lyon, France.

      I compare various legislations throughout the world and disscuss within their context, what seems to work and what doesn’t.

      The BGA Alper Integrity Index is reputable. Its based in Chicago and uses a variety of data to compile their information. According to the index Vermont scored 49th in the nation because of two things we ranked a ZERO in:

      1) Whistleblower Protections

      2) Conflict of Interest Policy

      I can attest to these both personally Julie. If the new “Whistle Blower” law your talking about has done one bit of good, I have yet to hear about it. If Vermont has a new “Whistle Blower” law it certainly hasn’t done this whistle blower any good.

      It takes more than passing a law. Its about HOW you enforce the law. If you’re always supporting the police in that misconduct is either growing disproportionately OR goes unpunished, then our AG is sending the wrong message to its suborninates. I mean just look at what’s happend. “Three and a half times the national average?” Are you kidding me? Vermont?

      Creating a law is only half of it. You need to enforce the law in a way which will deter others (police, correctional staff and anybody) from targeting or harming the whistle blower in any way. Good luck with that. Not with Bill Sorrell in office. The public has “Dumbed up” to this actually. We have this “Well what did you expect?” mentality. I’d like to make it unequivically clear, I expect MUCH more from our police and state and local governments.

      Its going to take more than a law. You’ll need to remove the whole culture. Saying you have family that are police officers isn’t really a good way to back up an argument. We Vermonters have a bad habit of blindly following the police, and particularly when the police are in the wrong.

      Let us be very clear here. The police are people too. No amount of training will take away their being human. Just like everybody else, the police make mistakes, become irrational and emotional.

      The police misconduct I’ve spoken of is actually an “Under Reporting” because we can only track misconduct which has been reported in the media. All the other incidents never get reported to the public. Do you know how many incidents never make it into the media? Do you know the history of the Burlington Police Department in regards to this?

      Do you know that, out of respect for WCAX’s Kristin Kelley (practically our neighbor) they (WCAX) will not run or cover any stories on police misconduct in the Burlington Police Department because she’s married to an officer who should have retired years ago? They might cover a Rutland or Brattleboro incident but not the Burlington one.

      Do you know that same officer was CAUGHT following me and my mother around (as if we didn’t recognize him) in Burlington when we would go for walks at night when I got out of work? We were walking.

      What would you do Julie? What would you do?

      Would you call your relatives who are police officers and ask them? Or would you call the AG? The Burlington Police Chief lied to me and the public recording of the incident went missing so I don’t really trust our Police Chief M. Schirling.

      These are just a few of a list of about thirty incidents which happend to me which will never make it into the media and I will spend the rest of my life writing about it.

      There is nothing “ad hominem” here. What better “argument” than your own true life experiences?

      I’m not trying to “deter” you Julie Hansen from supporting your candidate. We are all products of our own environment and if our personal experiences were to be both inter-exchanged, we might both be supporting the other candidate right?

      These are my own real experiences. They are not made up and should anyone like any further tesimoney, I’d be glad to “enlighten” them.

      My own experiences aside, Vermont has compiled a HUGE list of cases (In a VERY SHORT amount of time 1-5 years) where the police failed misserably resulting in either the loss of life, liberty and/or sever trauma and mental distress to completely innocent tax paying citizens.

      This list is growing so fast and if you look at the actual cases and how our state government tries to cover them up, it really makes you wonder.

      Thank you for your comment and may the better candidate win.

      Christian Noll

  • Julie Hansen

    Thanks, Mr. Noll,

    I wasn’t really using my family for the sake of argument but to suggest that I am sympathetic to the police culture, both as it plays out in our neighborhoods and in the police station.

    My other issue was to ascertain the point at which the AG becomes involved. Yes, a tone is set by the top person, absolutely, but the case must to go through a chain of people before it reaches the office of the AG.

    It is really challenging to believe that a news organization would back away from a story because of their employees, but I have no reason to doubt your statement.

    I certainly do support a strong screening process in the hiring of police and ongoing training. I have also thought they should have ongoing counseling. It is a stressful job. The police see the worst of our society. Constantly dealing with that must take its toll.

    Well, thanks for your reply.

    • Christian Noll

      You’re welcome Julie.

      Just real quick in closing; I too am “sympathetic” to the police culture however, not so much that I’d support them in the types of cases we’re starting to see a lot of here in Vermont.

      I am not “anti-police” by any standard, and on the contrary, it is for better police that I advocate.

      “…but a case must go through a chain of people before it reaches the office of the AG.”

      Actually, this is not true. If you have a consumer complaint, with lets say a utility company (yes I had one) you simply dial the AG’s consumer affairs line.

      You also call directly the Attorney General’s Civil “Rights” Unit or CRU with any civil rights complaints.

      There is no “chain” of people to my knowledge that your case needs to follow with these types of cases. You simply dial up and take a number.

      You may not speak with the AG himself but you dial the office of the Attorney General.

      They register your complaint over the phone and will instruct you to follow up accordingly with any documentation or discovery.

      Yes it IS “Challanging” to learn that not only a “neighbor” but a news organization would deliberately not cover a story because of several employees.

      I also agree with you that police should have on going counseling for job related stress.

      The tough boy image has got to go.

      Thank you Julie for your posts.

  • Ronald Taber

    Last year I watched as the Newport City Police Department illegally evicted a family from the portion of their property where they parked their cars. They had parked their cars here ever since they owned their property, eighteen years. I went to the Newport City Council and the Orleans County States Attorney, trying to get help for these people. When it was clear that I was getting nowhere, I wrote a four page letter to Attorney General Sorrell. He would not lift a finger to help these people. When a man in Hartford can be sitting on his toilet and be beaten by the police and Sorrell says is is OK, isn’t it time that we elected an Attorney General who defends the entire U.S. Constitution including the Bill of Rights?

    Ronald Taber LLS VT NH

  • Benny Blanco

    Typical politics, Mr Donovan should look at this and laugh. He has all the support he needs and more

  • Galen Crandall

    I’m still trying to find out where B. Sorrell stands regarding Governor Shumlins drive to make Vermont a sanctuary state for illegal aliens. I don’t recall Sorrell making a statement when the governor chastised the Vermont State Troopers for their proper handling of illegal aliens during a traffic stop.

  • Charles Samsonow

    I understand and believe Noll completely about his experiences with law enforcement – because I myself have experience it also first hand – and in court the Hartford police department lied thru there teeth to save face. I could understand this behavior from a teenager but these are grown ups and most have many years experience – when do they ever – if ever – mentally grow up ? Mr. Wayne Burwell suffered as I did also very dearly – and these are cases that have come to light – how many more are pushed under the rug because they don’t want to be sued – but at the same time they can’t wait to sue you ! Take your property or run you out of town. These are truly ( wolves in sheeps clothing ).
    Who else can start trouble in your neighborhood – keep it going – and win in the end by lying in court – other then your local criminal – which lived below me.
    Grows hemp on my property and nothing happens to him – but me I go to jail for pushing a scum bag – ex-hartford vt cop – who has flipped me off and cussed at me for 2 -1/2 years. See its OK if they do that ( meaning cops – lawyers and judges and there kids and relatives ) but you try doing that to them or defending yourself and they will see that you suffer greatly for that .
    Don’t blame that behavior on being human – blame it on them for being scared – evil -immature and selfish ! If you want to stop bullies you have start at the top and stop it in law – and law enforcement. If you ask me – we have way too many cops – they have nothing else to do but wait all day long for the average person to trip someplace – so they can earn a pay check. So these people are people who will do anything to anyone for an income ! Can you see the correlation – to that of a criminal – both parties do not really want too work with there hands – like the rest of us. They want to flap there jaws – sit on there asses – and bilk the tax payer – this sounds like Obama Care . And they will always vote in more government – that way they will always have a do nothing job – on someone else expense .