Condos calls in attorney general to help find way to block Trump data grab

Jim Condos
Secretary of State Jim Condos on inauguration day in January. File photo by Andrew Kutches/VTDigger
Secretary of State Jim Condos has stepped up his rebuff of the Trump administration, saying he won’t comply — for now — with the demand that secretaries of state nationwide provide voter information to a federal commission investigating claims of election fraud.

The Election Integrity Commission on Wednesday asked for voters’ dates of birth, voter histories, party affiliations, felony convictions, addresses, Social Security numbers and other personal information, according to Condos’ office.

Condos said last week that he is “bound by law” to provide limited information that is publicly available.

But Monday, citing new information and a public outcry over the weekend, Condos issued a statement saying he wouldn’t send any information until receiving certain assurances from the Trump administration.

The statement said Condos’ office had learned that the two methods the commission provided for submitting voter data – unencrypted email and an FTP site – are insecure. Condos described that as “baffling” and said he has asked the commission for more details on how the data will be used and securely transferred and stored.

“I refuse to respond or comply with any part of this data request until I receive answers to these important questions,” he said. “I am working with the Vermont attorney general’s office to understand all of our options, and we will take the full amount of time allotted to respond with what information that is already publicly available, if any, will be provided.”

He also reiterated that he will not provide “voters’ private and sensitive information,” adding that he had heard from many Vermonters about their concerns. “I will not compromise the security of Vermont voters’ personal data,” Condos said in the statement, “and my office continues to explore all options available to avoid assisting this sham commission.”

President Donald Trump created the advisory commission after claiming that 3 million to 5 million unauthorized immigrants voted illegally in last fall’s election, an assertion that’s patently false, according findings by the Brennan Center for Justice. The commission’s chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is a frequent target of allegations of voter suppression.

Vermont election officials suspect that’s exactly the commission’s goal — suppressing the vote — and worry that the sensitive voter data could be hacked for unethical ends. Many other states are refusing to cooperate with the commission, but in the end they might have little legal standing to say no.

Aside from basic biographical information, Vermont asks people registering to vote for their driver’s license number, the last four digits of their Social Security number and whether they are U.S. citizens. Vermont does not collect party affiliations.

Some of the information the commission is requesting — like voter names and addresses — is available through Vermont’s Public Records Act, which is why Condos’ office said last week it would share public information, Deputy Secretary of State Chris Winters said Monday.

TJ Donovan
Attorney General TJ Donovan. File photo by Morgan True/VTDigger
But now the office is searching for any legal grounds to deny the request entirely before the commission’s July 14 deadline, Winters said. He said his office is working with the attorney general’s office to find an exception to the commission’s request in the state’s Public Records Act.

One possible angle: The commission says it plans to publish the voter data it compiles, allowing it to be used commercially. That, Winters said, would violate the legislative intent of the Public Records Act.

Winters would not say whether his office would deny the request entirely if it were unable to muster a sound legal argument. Condos could not be reached Monday to comment on that.

Many other states also make voter registration data public upon request and are rifling through statutes to see whether they, too, must comply with the commission’s demand, said Kay Stimson, spokesperson for the National Association of Secretaries of State. (For more on other states’ responses, see the document below.)

Neither Vermont’s secretary of state’s office nor the attorney general’s office has received a single complaint of voter fraud in at least 10 years, Winters said.

“We’re not saying it doesn’t exist,” he said. “It’s just not widespread.”

Condos’ characterization of the commission as a sham drew agreement from the American Civil Liberties Union and from Rights and Democracy, a Vermont and New Hampshire advocacy group.

“Bottom line for ACLU is we stand with Secretary Condos in standing up to Trump’s so-called commission,” ACLU staff attorney Jay Diaz said Monday. “It is nothing more than an effort to advance Trump propaganda and suppress the right to vote.”

Rights and Democracy spokesman Shay Totten said voting fraud is largely a fraud itself. “This is fake news. There is not rampant voter fraud,” he said.

Secretaries of state will be gathering July 7-10 in Indiana for the annual National Association of Secretaries of State conference. When Condos returns, Winters said, they will know more about how to respond.

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  • Peter Chick

    A non response would lead me to believe there is something to hide.

    • David Bell

      So, if I ask you for all your personal data to be posted online, your refusal means you have something to hide?

      • Dan DeCoteau

        No one is going to post your data online and who wants it anyway? If you are this concerned I hope you never buy anything with a credit card anywhere or order anything online. Too late, everything about you is already out there for anyone who knows how to get it.

      • Peter Chick

        Who is posting anything online? Some one called for an investigation. Let’s have one. I would like to see how those crafty Russians pulled this one off.

      • Steve Baker

        Why don’t the Liberals protest the collection of all the meta-data ?

      • Jim Manahan

        That’s not the request.

    • Paul Drayman

      We do have something to hide…..our personal information; our Constitutionally protected privacy. Additionally, in this country law enforcement must prove to a judge that a crime has been committed and a particular person may have committed that crime. Then a court order is issued that allows that person’s privacy to be invaded. If you don’t like that, then you probably prefer the authoritarian governments such as Putin’s Russia or Communist China. You might also enjoy absolute dictatorships like North Korea. Your comment above is precisely the mind-set of heads of countries that the USA has sacrificed countless lives and fortune to wipe from the face of this earth.
      You would like to hand it all over on a silver platter.

      • Edward Letourneau

        Voter lists are public information. The lefties are in never-never land.

      • Jon Corrigan

        Go back and look at the OPM ‘data breach’ – which was essentially handing over to the Chinese government the personal information (names, addresses, DOB, SSN, job history, telephone numbers, next of kin, etc) for every single person who held or had applied for a security clearance in the past 20 years.
        That’s what happens when the US government allows contractors to hire subcontractors from a foreign government. We’ve already handed the personal information of tens of millions over on a silver platter – kind of late to be crying about it.

      • Richard Ley

        Just follow the law Jim condos

        Voter fraud is Alive and Well in Vermont and it is time to put it to bed

  • Edward Letourneau

    All through the Obama years the republicans were accused of not working with the administration. Now the democrats are doing the same things. — When are these people going to grow up and work for the people of the United States?

    • John D. Wagner

      We are working as Vermonters to stop the commission of a crime by Trump using our private data. This has nothing to do with party.

      • Neil Johnson

        The private data any citizen can request and receive. The hysteria is truly ludicrous. Every campaign has access to this information. It’s amazing what is printed these days for news.

        • Jeff Noordsy

          “Indiana law doesn’t permit the Secretary of State to provide the
          personal information requested by Secretary Kobach,” Lawson said. “Under
          Indiana public records laws, certain voter info is available to the
          public, the media and any other person who requested the information for
          non-commercial purposes. The information publicly available is name,
          address and congressional district assignment.”

          This from an actual member of the panel.

      • Edward Letourneau

        Complete nonsense. Its all public information. Its not private information.

      • Dan DeCoteau

        What is the crime? It has everything to do with party as the slogan is “resist” coming from democrats just because they lost an election that they and you thought was in the bag. The government that you seem to love so much already has your data. It was more frightening when the previous administration had it.

      • Jim Manahan

        What’s this crime you speak of?

      • Richard Ley

        Please explain the crime that Donald Trump would be committing by doing this

    • david schwartz

      When the president (small p) represents the people of the US.

  • Michael Olcott

    oops posted the idea i had on the wrong story,i think its worth repeating here though. maybe one will make it past the editors. If there was an EO by the POTUS to establish a privately funded Voluntary National ID is there really anything that could be done to stop it? Updated as newer technologies become available to remain secure being written into it..
    (.pretty sure there is one already that gives the POTUS the power to do what is needed to secure the national interest’s. if i remember right it gives seizure power for any disruptive technologies for the trivia people.)

  • John Snell

    “Secretaries of state will be gathering July 7-10 in Indiana for the annual National Association of Secretaries of State conference.” The perfect time and place to ask VP Pence a few pointed questions!

  • Lisa Barton

    Here’s another way to not comply — just say no. If the majority of secretaries of state simply said no, we won’t give you that, then case closed.

    It’s the same tactic Trump uses for showing his tax returns and disinvesting himself from his business dealings. It works.

    • Steve Baker

      Then you do not have a constitutional republic anymore.

  • Jamie Carter

    “Condos described that as “baffling”

    What is baffling to me is that Condos is refusing to turn over PUBLIC information and we’ve had not one but two news stories over it. It’s baffling that Trump has caused so many to lose their minds… from safe spaces to deny publicaly available information… it’s crazy. I figured Trump stood a good chance of being the downfall of our current government, I just thought it would be due to something idiotic he actually did. I never imagined it would be due to people freaking about EVERYTHING.

    ” Shay Totten said voting fraud is largely a fraud itself.”

    Probably, but why the opposition to checking into it. If there is no fraud great, if there is we figured that out. There is no logical reason to freak out over investigating whether or not voter fraud is occurring. It’s something that’s been spoken about every election cycle for the past two decades. I would think some of these groups would be happy to put it to bed once and for all… again Trump is literally causing people to lose their minds.

  • Neil Johnson

    More likely this order came from the DNC. We can have easy access and prevention of voter fraud they are not mutually exclusive. But if you look in the play book you’ll find the operative is to divide.

    Why can’t we have easy access and prevention of voter fraud, without a national data base?

    For those who can’t read/write/ have no id, just take their photo as a provisional ballot and use that for a data base for those who find it too difficult to get any id. Pretty easy. But this whole exercise is done to divide.

    We can have easy access and a protected election. We have to work together, that is all.

    • Ann Meade

      Please explain “this order came from the DNC”? This is an entirely republican committee headed by the VP.

      • Neil Johnson

        The order to publically state I’m not going to give the president his request. A request I might add, would be granted to any person who requested the voter list, it’s public information.

        For example you could walk in request the list and receive it, give to the president if you like.

        But we are making a “production” on something so mundane.

        We can have easy access and protection of voter fraud, without national id. Isn’t that what everyone wants? A fair, open and honest election. Instead we get drivel like this to stir people up and not really think.

        • Jeff Noordsy

          I sincerely doubt that Tennessee, Mississippi and Ohio (to name a few) are taking their marching orders from the DNC.

        • Ann Meade

          Then why are so many R states also not willing? Every state audits their own electoral process, maybe those audits would be a better place to start.

  • Mary Reed

    This has never really been about real voter fraud – that’s always been an effective distraction. Long before the election, the RNC gathered a massive amount of publicly available voter data, created an incredibly useful data base, and kept it updated. I took from the articles I read that the database was not securely stored or managed and the data became available. The information was useful to the party, effective for state-by state voter suppression legislation, and valuable for 3rd parties with the technical ability, money to pay the cost, and motivation to go ‘trolling’. That database did not, however, include Social Security numbers, dates of birth, driver license numbers, and other data points that are normally used to secure financial, medical and other sensitive personal account information – data points that are now, not co-incidentally, being demanded by the commission. As effective as the database they envision will be for enhanced voter suppression, it will also be far more valuable to 3rd parties who want access to personal identifying information that secures personal accounts. I’d be foolish to think this contemplated database will show widespread voter fraud – none has been shown to date. I’d be equally foolish to think the commission needs this data for ‘voter ID’. I’d be even more foolish to think the resulting database would be kept any more secure than the one they have already created. There are far too many billions of dollars to be made from what they now demand.

  • Dan DeCoteau

    As an investigator for over 30 years, I can assure all of you that your information is already out there for anyone to get. Voting in America is the right we have as a people to form our government. If you are of the mind set that believes anyone, anywhere should be allowed to vote without proving you are a legal citizen of our country remember that if in the future things don’t turn out the way you wanted you will be the reason why. It is great to sit back and feel good about yourself while you may be responsible for the destruction of your country through a fraudulent election. What is a nation without laws, guidelines and morals? The term useful idiot comes to mind. Just performing the act of voting, being bused to the voting booth and told how to vote is not how great countries survive. If you believe that winning is more important than honesty it is probably you who doesn’t want to ensure all voting is legal We should have to prove who we are to vote. If you are too ignorant to know how to get a government issued ID why should you be allowed to choose our government or have someone choose for you by telling you who to vote for? Voter suppression of nonlegal citizens is not voter suppression. It is mandatory for the protection of our nation. Perhaps many of you opposing the commissions mandate just don’t want to uncover a hidden truth. But here’s what I know for sure, your name and personal information is in files other than voting files and the protection of your personal information has long past and just doesn’t pass the smell test for why you would oppose this.

    • David Bell

      Given that multiple courts have, after reviewing evidence, seen state governments have deliberately used voter ID laws to suppress minority voters.

      I find it ironic that you refer to people who disagree with you as useful idiots then suggest they should not be allowed to vote. Sadly for you, the Constitution does not place restrictions based on race, creed, ethnicity or intelligence on the right to vote. It is a right, even if you personally believe someone unable or unwilling to take time off work to spend hours waiting on line for an ID they have to pay for is “too stupid” to vote.

      As an investigator, I would hope you based your findings on facts and evidence rather than conspiracy theories and conjecture. Which is literally all the voter suppression movement has after decades of investigation.

    • Steve Baker

      You’re absolutely correct! Because it is a right doesn’t mean we have to be stupid.

  • David Bell

    Or he doesn’t want to be party to it.

    • Steve Baker

      The Liberals were in lockstep when the Obama administration was collecting massive amounts of personal data on every US citizen as well as unmasking many other US citizens. I didn’t hear David Bell here are many other liberals complaining when the department of justice was spying on AP reporters and others.

      • Dan DeCoteau

        And what about the personal information to sign up for Obamacare? Of course that would be protected, right?

  • I’m with you, Secretary Condos.

  • Deb Tyson

    Its an invasion of privacy. Your vote is sacred and not to be published about who and what party you vote for.

    • Edward Letourneau

      Nonsense and not true. In Vermont anyone can find out if you vote for the dems or repuks (who apparently are the only ones concerned about our tax load).

      • JohnGreenberg

        IF you’re talking about general election votes, please explain how “anyone can find out.”

        • Jamie Carter

          That’s obviously not what he’s talking about, nor what is being discussed and asked for. It’s whether you took a republican ballot or democratic ballot. Which is another reason some of our election laws are silly.

  • Robert Roper

    There’s no way to know if there’s voter fraud or not. If you don’t check ID, how do you know the person voting is who they say they are? If you send out an absentee ballot, how do you know the person filling it out is who they say they are? There is no way to know? But we know there’s no voter fraud because the political process and culture are totally devoid of corruption, and political operatives would never, ever cheat.

  • Tom Lyle


    … don’t do it Jim Condos!!!

    • Robert Lehmert

      He’s just going to follow the law that has long existed before the current period of hysteria.

      Jim Condos is a consummate professional and public servant.

  • Richard Ley

    Jim condos is aware there is voter fraud in the state of Vermont and is very reluctant to let it become known to the rest of the country

    • JohnGreenberg

      Please provide some evidence to support either of your claims: 1) that “there is voter fraud in the state of Vermont” and 2) that Jim condos is aware” of it. Both claims are false.

  • Dan DeCoteau

    The corruption of the last administration and the cover ups of law breaking at the IRS, the DOJ, the EPA and the ATF will be exposed. Erick Holder was the first Attorney General ever censored by the US congress for claiming executive privilege to bury documents there by blocking the truth. The lies are already out there. The truth will be exposed.

  • Dan DeCoteau

    Because you post something here certainly does not make it true. Do you think Trump won because your party was doing so well? Do you think your party has lost over 1,000 legislative seats, the house, the senate, 4 special elections for congress and 35 governorship’s because people like what the democrats have done to America? This is Vermont were all commonsense has been elected away but the country is rejecting liberalism and it is refreshing.

  • Dan DeCoteau

    “We have to pass it to see what’s in the bill”, Nancy Pelosi prior to all democrats voting for the ACA.
    “You can keep your doctor and you plan”, President Obama
    “Every family will see a $2,500.00 savings under this plan”
    $284 million wasted on Vermont Health connect and Single payer studies.

  • Dan DeCoteau

    How about the Dept. of Injustice!

  • Dan DeCoteau

    When the big central government runs your life, tells you what to eat and drink, runs your healthcare, pays part of your taxes, supplies you with taxpayer funded benefits, records your medical and dental records, monitors your phone and emails, tracks your spending habits, registers your vehicle, has all your payroll information and where you have lived and worked your whole life, filed for divorce, got married, bought a car and even when you die the information is given to the government. Your name on a voter checklist should be the least of your worries.

    • jan van eck

      Worse, they record your movement over the roads and bridges with that E-Z Pass, so you cannot sneak out to cheat on your wife. The Government knows everything. Smash the disc storage and the servers.

    • Jim Manahan

      You’re about eight years late to the party.

  • Dan DeCoteau

    I think your posts are much more furious than mine. I don’t use catch words like “so called president” or intimidating right wingers. The shoe is on the other foot and outside of Vermont you are losing BIGLY!

  • Stuart Lindberg

    No one is suggesting a return to poll taxes or Jim Crow laws. That is ridiculous fear mongering.

  • Edward Letourneau

    If there are no illegal voters, just what are the democrats afraid will be found?

    • Dave Bellini

      And many Republicans also…

    • Robert Lehmert

      Then I’m certain you would embrace a prompt impeachment trial for a certain former reality TV personality, right?

      • Steve Baker

        High crimes and misdemeanors, bring forth the evidence!
        The liberals who just can’t except the results of the election are treading on very dangerous water when they talk like this. Impeachment, 25th amendment, remember what goes around comes around.

        • Robert Lehmert

          The evidence is being compiled, Steve. Every day we learn a little more as people like Felix Sater cooperate with investigators. When the evidence is fully collected, Americans will have a choice whether to support the US or a discredited and disloyal political brand. As far as your comment about “what goes around”, some things (such as treason) have a much higher deterrence value than threats by disgruntled partisans. Enjoy the read: https://tinyurl.com/ydd5o3mf

  • Michael Dougherty

    No further messages on this thread, please. Thanks!

    • Jim Manahan

      Thank you.

    • jan van eck

      Look at it this way, Moderator Dougherty: at least you managed to provoke a lively debate. Hey, for a newspaperman, that is a serious plus!

  • Dave Bellini

    But in RI, voters need to show identification…..

    • Willem Post


      Is enforcement of the identification requirement just as lax as the residency requirement?

      • Robert Lehmert


        Steve Bannon registered to vote in two states despite Trump’s cries of ‘voter fraud’

        “President’s senior adviser is registered in both New York and Florida, as president falsely claims in tweet that such an arrangement amounts to fraud.”

  • Rich Lachapelle

    Never mind these facts, didn’t you get the recurring message from the supporters of our Sec.of State and the “resist Trump” crowd that “literally every investigation has stated clearly no widespread voter fraud exists”?

    Funny how two of this Country’s greatest assets: our system of elections and our immigration and border enforcement laws have been totally cast as irrelevant by the Left? Blaming the Russian bogieman is a new low in democrat subterfuge.

  • JohnGreenberg

    “Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has been fined $1,000 for misleading a federal court in an effort to keep two documents private.

    The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit last year against Kobach arguing that his state’s proof of citizenship law violates the National Voter Registration Act. ACLU lawyers asked Kobach to produce two documents they said pertained to the case.

    One of those documents was a draft of a proposed amendment to the National Voter Registration Act. The second was a document that had been photographed and widely shared in late November after Kobach met with then-President-elect Donald Trump. The power of a zoom lens exposed certain details of his proposal to Trump to deport potential terrorists.

    In a 24-page ruling made public Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge James O’Hara wrote that Kobach did not accurately represent the contents of the documents when he argued against producing them.

    “Defendant refused to produce these documents, asserting that they are beyond the scope of reopened discovery, do not seek relevant information, and are protected by the attorney-client, deliberative-process, and executive privileges,” the judge wrote.

    …The judge wrote that while the court could not say that Kobach “flat-out lied,” the “defendant’s statements can be construed as wordplay meant to present a materially inaccurate picture of the documents.”


  • Steve Baker

    As long as liberal progressive socialist Democrats stall any investigations we will obviously not have any issues right?
    They now throw the phrase voter suppression around just like they do the word racist.

    • Robert Lehmert

      Uh, Steve?

      Why don’t you share 1 – 2 occasions where there was a real-life situation in Vermont where someone voted fraudulently? My only request is that the “fraud” rise above the level of being registered to vote in more than one state. See: https://tinyurl.com/zjm5ube

      • Steve Baker

        Bobby, if nothing is ever investigated of course it never happened, it’s like the tree in the woods that fell and didn’t make a noise.

        • Robert Lehmert

          Amazing. You think that a request by a Federal political appointee for confidential and personal voting data is completely normal. Is that a Libertarian philosophy or something else?

  • Steve Baker

    I partially agree with you. There’s plenty of people that still think there’s separation of church and state in the constitution and or the Declaration of Independence. Ignorance of the populace is no excuse to not do the right thing.

    • jan van eck

      It never is, Steve. Doing the right thing is both your solemn duty and your Christian obligation. There can be no shirking of one’s solemn obligation to do the right thing.

  • Steve Baker

    That’s such a quaint ideal, what do you have to say about the Obama administration and their meta-data collection along with their spying on reporters and their glorious unmasking of private US citizens?

    • jan van eck

      Outrageous. Completely outrageous. I also say that the people responsible should be fired and never again be allowed to hold a government job. Along with the people that hacked into Angela Merkel’s cell phone. Outrageous!

  • Jamie Carter

    If you can’t be bothered to obtain an ID, how are you ever going to be bothered to actually vote? Requiring a person to show identification is not the hardship you make it out to be. Who doesn’t have an ID in this country anyways? And why couldn’t we give them out to people experiencing financial hardship when their case worker signs them up for welfare benefits, food stamps or any other financial assistant programs. if we can afford to give out cell phones, we can afford a voter ID card.

  • Tom Haviland

    Affecting an election through in person voter fraud is like becoming a millionaire by robbing a million banks for a dollar each. It’s just not an effective strategy.

    A much better strategy is to drum up support for impediments to voting that structurally prevent those likely to support your opponents from voting.

    • Lisa Barton

      Yes, those impediments are called gerrymandering. GOP’s favorite past time.

  • victor ialeggio

    Trump has repeatedly spread the fiction that three to five million illegal votes were cast in the last election.

    That “information” was provided, without any proof whatever, by a former state official of Texas and self-proclaimed authority on voter fraud named Gregg Phillips who tweeted shortly after the election that three million unqualified voters had cast ballots in the election. How did he find out? He claimed to CNN to have discovered this using special “algorithms” he had developed.
    “Mr Phillips owes the US government more than $100,000 in
    unpaid taxes, has been accused of lying about his qualifications [when applying for state office], and has faced several allegations of ethical impropriety.” (Guardian, 1/27/17.)
    From this, a short step to Kris Kobach who stood slavering in the wings.
    QED, I guess.

  • Robert Lehmert

    That’s a false statement. The Attorney General has stated he will comply with the requirements of the law.

  • Robert Lehmert

    A “convenient foil” indeed! Ludicrous. Blame the FBI for being nosey!

    The permanent sense of grievance overwhelms any semblance of self-awareness. Shameful.

  • Robert Lehmert
  • Robert Lehmert

    Hey Homer — Show me “any [reliably documented] amount of fraud” exceeding the population inside my house, and I’ll kiss your cheek in Macy’s window…. lol.

  • Steve Baker

    You were correct, but it was greatly expanded under the Obama administration. Remember when his stooges came in front of Congress and out right lied about the collection of meta-data ? Only to be caught in a have to recant and we stayed.
    My point is the hypocrisy of the left. I don’t see any liberal politicians protesting the collection of every phone call and email that every citizen makes.

    • JohnGreenberg

      ” I don’t see any liberal politicians protesting the collection of every phone call and email that every citizen makes.” Then you haven’t looked. Google it.

  • Steve Baker

    Noticed they want to circumvent the public record laws with Vermont politicians to also!
    Sunshine is the best antiseptic for our government

  • Townsend Peters

    Thanks Jim Condos for standing up for voting rights in the face of an evil administration bent on suppression.

  • JohnGreenberg

    I’ll take your bet. Please present your evidence.

  • JohnGreenberg

    “Twenty-two individuals voted in Vermont and also voted in another state
    in the 2012 general election. These votes included six each in New York
    and Massachusetts, two each in Connecticut, Florida and Colorado and one
    vote each in Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey and Wisconsin. Most, but not
    all, of the duplicate voters were of college age or slightly older.”

    Please provide a source for this claim.

  • Jon Corrigan

    Already on the way to DC Paulie. Thanks for the tip.

  • Vermont needs to exercise some caution, Trump may find a way to turn
    down the spigot of federal funds that Vermont can’t survive without.
    need to hope that Leahy, Madoff-Trump-Sanders, and Welch can continue
    to steer federal contracts, grants, and “emergency” funding to the

  • Robert Lehmert

    You know nothing about me and I am surprised that VTDigger permitted such an broad, fact-free ad hominem comment.