I’m sure it’s a coincidence (paging Mr. Coriell), but Governor Shumlin chose today to announce his choice of independent investigator to look into Eternal General Bill Sorrell’s campaign finance activities. On a Friday, and on a Friday when a sitting State Senator did a perp walk after his arraignment on sex-crime charges.
But the hiring is noteworthy, and from all appearances, Shumlin made a fine choice. Tom Little appears to be above reproach in his personal conduct, and even-handed in his political dealings. The only drawback — and to some it’s a very significant one — is that he doesn’t have any experience as a prosecutor. His legal practice has mainly been in corporate and real estate law.
Little served ten years a Republican State Representative. He distinguished himself greatly in the fight for civil unions. In this age of widespread marriage equality, that might seem like ancient history; but it was only 15 years ago, and at the time it was a legal milestone and a red-hot controversy. An August 2000 profile piece by Seven Days’ Kevin Kelley called him “the single most influential figure in steering the [civil unions] legislation to narrow passage.” As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Kelly writes, he “helped persuade other moderate Republicans to vote on their conscience, not their fears.”
He’s currently a top exec at the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, and he’s got a list of public service activities as long as your arm. And someone with much more knowledge than I characterizes Little as a “straight shooter, non-corruptible.” But here’s the point where my cynicism threw in the towel: according to a bio I’ve seen, he “currently serves as Chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont.”
Good grief. Who is this guy, the reincarnation of Jimmy Stewart?
I don’t know Tom Little, never met him. But apart from the lack of prosecutorial experience, it’s very hard to find any fault with the choice. Not bad for a Friday newsdump. (Sorry, Scott.)