Vermont Attorney General Settles Case Against Former Lt. Governor Candidate

Nov 21, 2017

The Vermont attorney general's office has reached a settlement in a case against a former candidate for lieutenant governor.

Dean Corren ran for the office in 2014 as a Progressive and Democrat. He used public financing for his campaign, meaning the money used for his campaign came from the state government. During his run for office, Corren received $180,717 in public finance grants.

The state’s case against Corren stems from an email sent by the Vermont Democratic Part in October 2014. The email, which asked voters to support Corren’s bid for lieutenant governor, was sent to more than 16,100 people on its mailing list.

Former Attorney General Bill Sorrell filed a case against Corren in 2015 and alleged  the mass email was an illegal campaign contribution. Sorrell sought $72,000 in fines for the email — which was valued at $255 dollars.

According to a press release from Corren and his attorney John Franco, the campaign offered 10 different times to pay the VDP for the email.

In July 2017, the Vermont Superior Court ruled that the email was a contribution under Vermont’s campaign finance law and the case was set to go to trial in December.

Corren said the AG's office offered a settlement in January, but at that time, the settlement conditions were unacceptable.

“Including a gag on me, and including dropping our federal case, the constitutional issues, and we said absolutely not,” Corren said. “So we held out and now we've won on every count.”

Corren said he is still pursuing a federal lawsuit against the state over what he said are constitutional problems with Vermont's public financing law.

According to the settlement, Corren will pay $255 to a charitable organization in Vermont.