Vermont Press Releases

Attorney General’s Office resolves South Burlington City Council election campaign finance complaint

News Release — Vermont Attorney General’s Office
April 6, 2015

Megan Shafritz
Assistant Attorney General


Eve Jacobs-Carnahan
Assistant Attorney General

The Attorney General’s Office has resolved a complaint arising out of advertising by Pam Pac in support of candidates in the 2013 South Burlington City Council election. The State has reached settlement agreements with Pam Pac, a political committee whose treasurer was Pamela Mackenzie, and with candidates Patricia Nowak and Chris Shaw.

According to the settlement agreements, Pamela Mackenzie coordinated with two city council candidates by discussing campaign strategy and planning advertisements with them. The candidates accepted and approved of her assistance. Documents disclosed during the Office’s investigation show that Pam Pac received contributions from 10 people and entities and made expenditures on advertising. Because Mackenzie coordinated Pam Pac’s spending with the candidates, the advertisements were considered in-kind contributions from the PAC to the candidates. Since the value of the ads exceeded the $3,000 cap on contributions to candidates, this was a violation of Vermont’s campaign finance law contribution limit.

In addition, according to the settlement agreement, Pam Pac failed to register as a political committee, inaccurately reported its contributions and expenditures, failed to file complete campaign finance disclosure reports, and did not identify itself on the advertisements in The Other Paper and the Burlington Free Press. The agreements also state that candidates Nowak and Shaw failed to report receipt of the in-kind contributions.

The State’s resolution of this matter should make clear that when people or entities pool their money to fund advertising in support of candidates they become a political committee and must register and file reports with the Secretary of State’s Office.

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Pam Pac will pay a penalty of $2,000 and will file corrected campaign finance reports. Candidates Nowak and Shaw will each pay a penalty of $750 and file corrected campaign finance reports. The Attorney General’s Office is continuing work on another campaign finance matter related to this election.

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