Vermont delegation rakes it in, whether they need it or not

Cash is rolling in at a reliable pace for Vermont’s congressional delegation.

By now, serious electoral foes are a foreign concept to Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch, but the invulnerability doesn’t seem to have dampened the giving spirit of their supporters. All three sit on growing stockpiles of money, well in excess of $1 million each.

The latest campaign finance reports, filed every three months with the Federal Elections Commission, cover the period from April to July 15.

Rep. Peter Welch, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Patrick Leahy got together Monday to talk about the farm bill passed through the house in June. VTD Photo/Taylor Dobbs

Rep. Peter Welch (from left), Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Patrick Leahy. VTD Photo/Taylor Dobbs

Welch is up for re-election in 2014; Leahy and Sanders have a little more than three and five years to go in their terms, respectively.

Welch took in $121,619 during the past three months — 83 percent came from PACs — bringing his campaign total to $1,233,896. Vermont’s senators had almost the reverse people-to-PAC ratio. Leahy raised substantially more than Sanders, but both got 86 percent of their money from individual donors. Sanders raised about $7,000, $6,000 of which came from 216 individual donors. The Independent senator, who accepts PAC money only selectively, didn’t receive a single PAC donation this round, according to Ben Eisenberg, his campaign finance director.

Leahy collected $136,219, bringing his total war chest to $1,612,925. In addition to a massive number of individuals, many of whom gave low-dollar sums, 20 PACs pitched in $19,300. They ranged from standard fare, like defense contractors and dairy groups, to the less mainstream — International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees gave $1,000, perhaps due to Leahy’s appearances in the “Batman” movie franchise.

Sanders, who coasted into a sixth term (combined House and Senate) in 2012, spent nearly seven times what he brought in during the past three months, but the roughly $50,000 he shelled out barely makes a dent in his $4 million war chest. Staff salaries and catering costs make up a sizeable chunk of his expenses. The latter reveals a predilection for bagels, including one $1,162 purchase.

Leahy spent $71,533, including $18,000 to Carolyn Dwyer, a Montpelier fundraising and management consultant who is also on the University of Vermont Board of Trustees, and roughly $13,700 to a fundraising consultant group.

Welch shelled out $47,569, and at least $150 has already proved well-spent. On June 27, the Welch campaign paid American Gas Association $150 for an “event fee;” three days later, American Gas Association reciprocated with a $2,000 donation. Other major expenses include $10,500 to the political consulting group, Kieloch Consulting.

Welch, who sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee, picked up a number of contributions from PACs with clear stakes in that arena. Natural gas and electric utilities PACs were especially well-represented. He also continues to remain a darling of the dairy industry. And he scooped up a number of contributions from PACS in the health care sector — ranging from the Ob-Gyns for Women’s Health PAC to the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists — and from the communication sector.

Leahy and Welch each nabbed the support of one prominent tech company and up-and-coming political player — Facebook gave $1,000 to Leahy and Google gave $1,000 to Welch.

In all, 144 individuals, over 100 of them Vermont residents, gave to Welch’s campaign. With the exception of a few, the rest are donors from New England or D.C. The majority of Sanders’ donors are Vermont-based as well, while Leahy draws from a much broader geographic pool.

Alicia Freese

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  • Deb Tyson

    How nice, we have people homeless and hungry in VT and you rake in these amounts needed or not. How about donating it to where it will help. Also while your at it, how about educating VT Judges and officials about foreclosure fraud and robo signers, because it seems they don’t believe it happens in our state.. Oh , that’s right no sense in talking to you, your in the pass the buck game too, where you send the people asking for YOUR help to others , who also pass the buck, and FYI the end results are always the same, homeowner loses, banks and private hedge funds wins. Not allowing the Ibanez decision in VT, is a travesty of Justice. Land titles no longer matter either, are you aware of that? That’s right, because as the Judge says, he can fix it. So sick of all this .. for once, do something, to help the people in VT.. and help those in need, because there are to many seeking help and losing their homes , because Judges don’t understand the laws where mortgages were securitized, and how the legal process works. They need to be educated.

  • Fred Woogmaster

    Obscene. All of it!

    “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” – Greg Palast

  • Tony Lolli

    Way to go, Bernie! Still out there fighting for us common folk. Yeah, right. What a bunch of pant loads. Proof: we get what we deserve from politics. Don’t like the status quo? VOTE!

  • Greg Lapworth

    Funny how our far left “useful idiots” have millions amassed but fuss about millionaires. How to become a millionaire? Get elected to Congress and be a hypocrite. VOTE THE TRASH OUT!!!!!!!!!!

  • James Gill

    Any unused campaign $ should be turned over to the Federal government after the elections.

  • Hod Palmer, III

    Check out Patriocracy, the movie. It’s a way to “cure” Congress!

  • Jack Daniels

    After an appeal from Bernie Sanders I had monthly contributions charged to my credit card for his first Senate campaign because I believed in him. I never even got an automated ‘Thank You’ e-mail or any acknowledgement at all from his campaign. Nothing… just the monthly charge against the card that I could darn well ill afford since I am retired and on a pretty low fixed income.

    Then I was getting these panicky sounding letters in the mail from ‘Friends of Bernie Sanders’ telling me that ‘the FEC filing deadline is only 30 days away’ and that I should write a check or make a credit card campaign donation immediately. When I wrote back and asked what exactly is this ‘Friends of Bernie Sanders’ I never got a reply.

    When he was a Congressman he used to swing through here in the smaller towns of Franklin County and meet with the residents. We haven’t seen him even once since he got into the Senate. He goes to Montpelier and the cities but never here.

    Four million doallars. He has changed.

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