Daily Archives: April 23, 2015

One Neat Trick To Investigate Bill Sorrell (two, actually)

SorrellZevonThe cloud of questionable campaign finance activities hangs heavy around the head of Our Eternal General Bill Sorrell. Fortunately for himself, his peripheral vision isn’t so great, so he’s blissfully unaware that the storm is gathering and everyone around him is scurrying for cover.

Today brings an editorial from Vermont’s best daily newspaper, the Valley News (okay, technically a bi-state newspaper), calling for an independent probe of Sorrell’s iffy doings.

The editorial quotes Sorrell’s heartwarming assurances: “It’s unfortunately that there are questions about whether there was undue influence. I know there was no undue influence.” The News has a stiletto-sharp rejoinder:

We guess it’s reassuring that in his heart, Sorrell knows he’s right. … On the other hand, the allegations are not so far-fetched that “take my word for it” is an adequate response from the state’s chief law enforcement officer, whose position and power are such that his or her integrity needs to be above reproach.

However, in the absence of any action by Governor Shumlin — or any semblance of concern, frankly — the only folks who could mount an independent investigation are our State’s Attorneys. Well, one or more of them.

There are two problems with that scenario. Continue reading

Letting a sleeping dog lie

When last we left The Mystery Of The Ineffective But Long-Tenured Attorney General, the state’s top executive was backing away from any sort of involvement. Governor Shumlin said he hadn’t read the complaint against Bill Sorrell, and gosh darn it, he wouldn’t be able to until sometime after adjournment.

Reminded me of the old joke about the guy at the sold-out hotel. “If the Pope showed up, would you have a room for him?” “Of course.” “Well, His Holiness isn’t coming, so give me his room.”

The point being, if Shumlin thought Sorrell’s adventures with campaign finance law were a big deal, he’d damn well find the time, toot suite.

As a matter of ethics and good government, I think he’s wrong. Even if he believes Sorrell to be innocent, there are big and numerous enough questions that we can’t just take Sorrell’s word for it anymore. The Governor should call for an independent counsel.

However… as a matter of politics, I see what he’s doing. Continue reading