Tag Archives: David Sunderland

Republican growls, Democrats scatter

So this week, VTGOP chair David Sunderland has been aggressively attacking the Democrats over a proposed carbon tax. Which, as Terri Hallenbeck pointed out, isn’t actually on the table for legislative action.

Right off the bat, word one, Sunderland’s lying. But he goes on to tell a bigger lie: that the carbon tax would be a massive burden, especially on working and middle class Vermonters.

What he’s conveniently ignoring is the fact that the carbon tax idea includes counterbalancing tax cuts, targeted at working Vermonters.

But Sunderland isn’t telling you that. He’s yammering about an “assault on working Vermonters, struggling young people and senior citizens,” “dangerous, pulitive, regressive,” “punishing… disgusting,” and “disconnect with reality.”

Actually, Sunderland is the one disconnected with the reality of the idea. But he sees a point of attack, and he’s not going to give up on it just because he has to lie constantly.

I shouldn’t be surprised, since Sunderland has publicly denied the settled science of climate change.

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Will the VTGOP run an anti-renewables campaign?

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign…

— 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Dubie emerges from five years of political hermitage to reveal himself as a vocal anti-wind advocate. He insists his stance has nothing to do with a proposed wind farm near his house, ahem.

— Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, the likely GOP gubernatorial candidate, doesn’t like ridgeline wind. He has described a road-to-Damascus moment when he was biking in rural Vermont, saw wind turbines on a ridgeline, and thought they looked ugly.

— Former Douglas Administration Ag Secretary Roger Allbee comes out of the weeds with an essay questioning whether wind and solar energy are in keeping with “Vermont’s environmental heritage,” which he describes in extremely rosy terms.

— Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning, a potential candidate for Lieutenant Governor, has expressed (on this very site) his opposition to any more large-scale renewable projects in the Northeast Kingdom.

— Then you’ve got VTGOP Chair David Sunderland, who has said “there’s science on both sides” of the climate change issue.

Taken together, that’s quite a few signs that the Vermont Republican Party will be running an anti-renewable campaign in 2016. Well, they’ll dress it up as favoring local control and taking “sensible” action (meaning little or none) while providing plenty of lip service about climate change.

This is one of the potential negative effects of a Phil Scott governorship: he would be a major obstacle to further progress on renewables.

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Tweeting past the graveyard

Gee, what’s on my Twitter feed this morning? Ah, a fresh bit of puffery from VTGOP Chair David Sunderland!

Fact-checking time!

RealClearPolitics’ average of the top national polls: John Kasich in 10th place with a measly 2.5%.

If that’s a surge, he must have started from negative 10.

Now, if Sunderland is talking New Hampshire specifically, he’s got a bit more ground to stand on. In RCP’s average of NH polls, Kasich is in third place with 10.3%. And he has legitimately “surged” in the Granite State; two months ago, he was down in bottom-feeder territory.

That’s a creditable figure. And a testament to the relatively clear-thinking nature of the NH Republican electorate, which is more interested in frugal, responsible government (and less interested in fact-free, over-the-top rhetoric) than Republicans nationwide.

In short, Sunderland got it right if he meant a very localized surge. But nationally? Kasich’s going nowhere.

The Bartley Bonanza: Worse than I thought

My previous post chronicled some of the curious spending decisions taken by Your Party of Fiscal Responsibility, the VTGOP. One item was Jeff Bartley’s compensation as Executive Director.

When he was hired last December, his announced salary was said to be $50,000 a year. But according to party filings with the Federal Elections Commission, Bartley had collected $37,516 by the end of June — which works out to something like $75K/year.

But I overlooked one small detail: That $37,000 is Bartley’s net pay — after taxes. Which means his actual salary has to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000, right?

Right.

So, questions for VTGOP Chair David Sunderland: What exactly is Jeff Bartley’s salary? And why is it so much higher than the announced figure?

And questions for other top Republicans: How do you feel about Jeff Bartley taking home so much of the VTGOP’s meager resources? And what kind of ROI do you think you’re getting?

Those with an interest in fiscal responsibility want to know.

More nuggets from the party of fiscal responsibility

Writing my most recent post on the continuing troubles inside the Vermont Republican Party brought me back to a subject I’d been ignoring: the VTGOP’s monthly finance reports to the Federal Elections Commission. Even though the VTGOP is a state party, most of its activities are now classified as “federal” under FEC rules.

The last time I looked over the filings was a few months ago. There have been three new reports since then, and some curiosities emerge after close examination.

Remember when Jeff Bartley was hired as VTGOP Executive Director last December? Them’s was good times.

Bartley was chosen in a last-minute election announced slightly more than 24 hours before the Dec. 1 [state Republican Committee] meeting. Insiders say the decision was rushed to leave no time for other candidates to come forward or for a search process to take place. Bartley was confirmed by a 6-4 vote of executive committee members.

Three of those “No” votes came from prominent conservatives with ties to former party chair Jack Lindley: Mark Snelling, Wendy Wilton, and Randy Brock. After the vote, Snelling resigned as party treasurer.

At the time, VTDigger reported that Bartley would draw an annual salary of $50,000.

Funny thing about that. As of the end of June, according to FEC filings, Bartley had already drawn $37,516 in salary. That projects out to an annual salary of about $75,000.

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Whistling past the graveyard with the VTGOP

Here’s a happy headline in the Burlington Free Press.

Primary shows GOP ‘is very much revitalized’

The claim, from various party bigwigs, is that the emergent Phil Scott/Bruce Lisman primary “brings energy that we haven’t had” and “shows that the Republican Party in Vermont is very much revitalized.”

Well, pardon me, but I don’t buy it.

The party’s one and only viable statewide politician, Phil Scott, is finally running for governor. And a rich guy has talked himself into a candidacy. That’s it.

The fact of a gubernatorial primary proves nothing about the state of the VTGOP. Now, if they come up with viable candidates for the other statewide offices, then I’ll start listening. And if they put together a foolish slate of quality candidates for the Legislature, I’ll be impressed.

But the real test of a “revitalized” party is its ability to field a competitive organization. And on that score, the VTGOP lags far behind the Democrats.

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Failing LiberPublican Settles for Vermont

Wow, what a get.

The Vermont Republican Party today announced that U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul will keynote a fundraiser on Monday, August 31, 2015.

Well, well. Acqua Buddha himself will grace our verdant land. Gosh, I hope he brings his chainsaw.

The VTGOP press release strangely promises “more details on the event… in the coming weeks.” Hey guys, you’ve got less than three weeks ’til go-time. Found a banquet hall yet?

Party Chair David Sunderland praised Senator Paul for coming to Vermont “even though we are not an early primary state.” Which, yeah, but that’s less about Paul’s graciousness and more about his desperation. After entering 2015 as a solid contender, the good Senator has faded badly. RealClearPolitics’ national polling average gives Paul less than six percent support. He’s not disappearing like Rick Perry, but he’s stuck in limbo behind Tea Party-oriented candidates like Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and of course Donald Trump.

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