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Seven Days reporter Alicia Freese joins Vermont Press Bureau chief Neal Goswami and Vermont Public Radio political reporter Peter Hirschfeld this week. Topics include the canceling of a much-anticipated legislative recount of the Orange-1 House district race, the role of Gov. Phil Scott’s chief of staff and more. Continue Reading →

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State police to meet with feds Friday to consider criminal investigation of Sorrell

MONTPELIER — The Vermont State Police clarified Wednesday that Attorney General William Sorrell is not currently facing a criminal investigation for pay-to-play allegations, but may after state authorities consult with federal law enforcement officials on Friday. Sorrell was recently cleared of four alleged campaign finance violations after an investigation by independent counsel Thomas Little. But Little, who was appointed by Gov. Peter Shumlin, punted on two other allegations, including a potential criminal act, saying it was outside the scope of his authority. Vermont State Police spokesman Scott Waterman issued a statement Wednesday evening saying a panel of county state’s attorneys, for whom Little performed his investigation, referred the potential criminal action by Sorrell to the agency as a criminal complaint. “After a civil review of campaign finance activities by Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell, the Vermont State Police received a complaint of alleged criminal misconduct from the state’s attorneys conducting the review,” Waterman said in his statement. Continue Reading →

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Tobacco stance puts Sorrell on list of bad AGs

illiam Sorrell is among the worst attorneys general in the United States, according to a report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Sorrell has received a fair amount of scrutiny of late, following a deep-dig story from Paul Heintz of Seven Days which uncovered a number of emails that indicate the possibility of campaign finance violations. Heintz’s investigation of Sorrell followed an investigation by Sorrell into the campaign of Dean Corren, a progressive who ran for lieutenant governor in 2014. Following Heintz’s story, Sorrell — who is tasked with investigating campaign finance violations — declined to investigate himself, saying he knew he hadn’t done anything wrong. This apparent conflict of interest led Gov. Peter Shumlin to appoint an independent investigator to look into Sorrell’s campaign finance practices, and has led Sen. Anthony Pollina to call for the creation of an ethics commission. Continue Reading →

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