The (rotten) apple doesn’t fall far from the (poisoned) tree

Hey, good morning, everybody! What say we get the blood circulating with a brisk round of dumpster diving, led by Your Vermont Republican Party Vice Chair Brady Toensing?

We’re talking about the Jane Sanders brouhaha, which re-entered our attention yesterday with the release of Skip Vallee’s attack ad against Jane and Bernie. Skippy’s ad focuses on Jane Sanders’ severance deal with Burlington College: after her departure as President, she received about $200,000 in salary and benefits. Which The Gas Man characterized as a “golden parachute.”

Well, apparently Mr. Vallee didn’t come up with this idea on his own.

The Sanders Severance (by Robert Ludlum?) was reported by the media at the time of her departure, but it’s come back amidst the ollege’s latest troubles, including the sudden resignation of Sanders’ successor, Christine Plunkett. And, as VTDigger reports:

[Burlington College’s] financial struggles surfaced in the media last month when Brady Toensing, the vice chairman of the Vermont GOP, passed financial audits of the college to local media.

Oh Brady, you little scamp you.

Toensing’s backdoor mudslinging, I hear, included references to Jane Sanders’ “golden parachute.” In sharing the BC audits, he was clearly trying to highlight Sanders’ alleged role in the college’s current difficulties. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the bang he was expecting for his buck:

The severance pay of $200,000 was a year’s worth of earned but unused sabbatical, she said Wednesday. That pay and her title of president emeritus were announced when she resigned, and were covered in media accounts at the time.

Yeah, sorry, Brady. No scandal here.

Okay, this is pretty standard political hardball — conducting opposition research and slipping tidbits to the media in hopes of generating negative press for your opponents. I’ve gotten my share of tips from both sides of the metaphorical aisle; some have panned out, some have not. However, there’s a difference between sliming a politician and going after a spouse.

And it’s worth pointing out that Toensing’s activities are of a piece with his parents’ notorious scandalmongering on the national scale. Mom and Pop — Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova by name — are frequent guests on Fox News, flogging various Obama conspiracy theories. Vic and Joe are D.C. lawyers, and Brady is a partner in their well-connected (in conservative circles) law firm.  (Details in this Golden Oldie post from Green Mountain Daily, which also details Brady’s political relationship with putative good guy Brian Dubie.)

Apparently he learned his stuff rom Mom and Pop. We look forward to more of Mr. Toensing’s political statesmanship. And maybe putative nice guy Phil Scott can explain why he thinks the junior Toensing is a proper representation of Vermont Republican values. Seems like not quite The Vermont Way, eh?

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