Scott Milne’s shotgun attack

Too-coy-by-half Senatorial candidate Scott Milne has come out firing with both barrels on the EB-5 program, hoping to use it as a wedge issue against perpetual incumbent Pat Leahy. Some of his criticisms are valid; others reveal a profound misunderstanding of Leahy’s role in the program.

Either misunderstanding or rank political opportunism. You make the call.

Milne is on solid ground when he accuses Leahy of being a prominent advocate of EB-5, and for being a vocal cheerleader for Vermont developers taking advantage of the program. Leahy has basked in the glow of ribbon-cuttings and high-profile announcements for years; he deserves his share of the heat from the collapse of Jay Peak and the involvement of his “good friend” Bill Stenger in an alleged fraud scheme.

It’s also fair to criticize Leahy for pushing a program with a fundamentally problematic premise: selling green cards to high rollers.

However, I don’t expect Milne to hit too hard on that point, considering that he himself toyed with the notion of soliciting EB-5 investor funds. Seven Days’ Paul Heintz reports that Milne traveled to China and South Korea in 2009 with Bill Stenger and then-Governor Jim Douglas, and came back an EB-5 enthusiast:

“To me, it is the perfect storm of government policy capturing the best of entrepreneurial spirit,” he told the Valley News a week after returning from Asia. “I was pleased beyond my expectations.”

“Perfect storm,” hahaha. There’s a malapropism that turned out to be horribly apropos.

Milne goes off the rails when he accuses Leahy of “mismanagement,” and lumps the Senator in with Governor Shumlin for “the way the EB-5 program has been structured and managed.”

See, the problem with that is, Leahy has had absolutely no role in the structuring or management of EB-5. He played a part in creating the program and promoting developments, but that’s all.

He can’t fairly be compared to Shumlin on this point. Shumlin — and his predecessors — set up Vermont’s EB-5 system. They are responsible for the failure to include any effective oversight of projects. You can’t compare Shumlin’s role with Leahy’s.

It is fair, however, to directly equate Shumlin and Jim Douglas. Somehow, I don’t think Milne is making that case either. In fact, he told Heintz that Douglas was tougher on EB-5 oversight than Shumlin — an assertion unmoored in fact.

But hey, Milne is ginning up issues for a challenge to an extremely popular incumbent. That takes hard work, and imagination.

Or, to put it another way, making stuff up.

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3 thoughts on “Scott Milne’s shotgun attack

  1. Brooke Paige

    Lord Leahy v. Prince Scotty (and Princess Cris) – “Long Odds” Redefined !

    There is lots of political ammunition in the breech to wound Senator Pat, unfortunately Scotty is probably not sufficiently armed to fire the scatter-gun salvo. In the end, Scott certainly knows he has “no shot” at taking out Leahy, except possibly if he should die just before Election Day – however, even then, the early votes and absentee votes would most probably lug the fresh corpses over the finish line. Incumbency seems to be the best tonic for protecting Vermont politicians from having their career expiring at the ballot box.

    Hey, Let’s give the kid credit for taking on Lord Leahy – no one should be allowed to go unchallenged. With Cris Ericson playing with Patty in the primary and Scotty poking at his in the general election; it’ll be political equivalent of the Roman Christians taking on the lions.

    Reply
  2. Acarn

    Really thought we had heard the last of this buffoon in 2014. Does he honestly think he can beat leahy? Im all for challenging him, no one should run unopposed, but he can’t actually think he will win.
    Either way, looking forward to your commentary on the election. Your humor never fails to amuse.

    Reply
  3. Macy Franklin

    Rank political opportunism by Vermont’s version of Forrest Gump. It will be highly entertaining to watch this gadfly, who couldn’t get whether or not he’s a native Vermonter straight and became a joke on network late night TV when he was staggering around the state as a gubernatorial candidate, articulate a coherent vision for the country and the world which is pretty much de rigueur for US Senate candidates.
    Run, Forrest run!

    Reply

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