VPR Fact Check
Leahy Plays Fast and Loose With The Facts In Only One-On-One Debate

Pomfret, VT (November 3, 2016) – Just five days before the general election, Senator Leahy sat down to his first statewide head to head debate in six years.  The Senator’s rhetoric was inconsistent with reality, and his record.
  1. Term Limits.
Leahy: “I never said I would support term limits”
Truth: Leahy told the Burlington Free Press on October 13 that he would support term limits, even though he has voted against term limits in the past.  April Burbank: “… you would support the idea of term limits in the Senate?” Leahy:  “Oh, if we had term limits for everybody, sure.”
  1. Campaign Finance.
Leahy: “We’ve had this devastating case, Citizens United …  as  a result we have all this dark money … I’m not, in a time of Citizens United … going to unilaterally disarm.”
Truth:  Hirschfeld went on to point out that many statewide candidates have indeed done just that.  According to Seven DaysWhile the senator maintains that the cash is necessary in a post-Citizens United world, he had relied on the same fundraising practices for decades before the Supreme Court handed down that decision in 2010. It’s what motivated former Republican governor Jim Douglas to challenge Leahy back in 1992, Douglas claims. ‘I felt strongly that since 96 percent of his campaign funds came from out of state, there was a valid question about who he was representing,’ Douglas says. ‘And I gather the numbers are still similar today.’”
  1. EB-5. 
Milne: “Your proposal with Grassley is to increase the cost of citizenship application in Vermont by 40% and to increase it in places like Hollywood, so how is that good for Vermont, Senator Leahy?”
Leahy:  “I would be happy to send him a copy of the legislation Senator Grassley and I have introduced.  Neither one of us would do such a thing.”
Truth: Senator Leahy’s highest donor-industry is entertainment and Hollywood uses EB-5 to fund films.  Senator Leahy’s reform proposal that he introduced with Senator Grassley in June 2015 raised the requisite investment from $500,000 to $800,000 in places like Vermont, and from $1,000,000 to $1,200,000 in places like Hollywood—that’s a 60% (Scott misspoke with his recollection that it was a 40% increase) increase for Vermont investment and a 20% increase for Senator Leahy’s Hollywood friends.  This incentivizes investment in urban areas at the expense of Vermont.
  1. Travel. 
Leahy: “Every bit of my travel is paid for by the government or myself.”
Truth: Leahy he has received at least $34,000 in free travel from special interests, including those with business before the Senate.
  1. Guns.
Leahy: “I’m not in favor of these people that make straw purchases …”
Truth:  Scott Milne and Patrick Leahy agree that straw purchases of guns are bad, but unlike Senator Leahy, Scott Milne believes that “straw donors” to political campaigns are bad, and has called on Leahy to return his campaign contributions from the Thornton Law Firm; embroiled in a straw donor scandal.

Lament of the day: Leahy ”I miss Fred Tuttle.”  No wonder, as Fred, of course, endorsed the Senator in the general election.