Milne Challenges Leahy To “Clean Campaign”

Proposal Would Limit Campaign Spending & Prohibit Special Interest Contributions

On the heels of yesterday’s report in Seven Days showing how 42-year U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy traded favors with a defense contractor, including accepting a major contribution within a month of delivering a nearly $16 million federal contract, Scott Milne today challenged Leahy to agree to a “clean campaign pledge.” Milne’s proposed pledge would dramatically curtail campaign spending and prohibit special interest campaign contributions.

“The American people are fed up with a corrupt political system where career politicians deliver taxpayer dollars to corporate special interests in exchange for campaign contributions that keep them in office perpetually,” said Milne. “Sen. Leahy has been a part of this system for 42 years and despite long being considered one of the safest incumbents in the country and claiming to oppose the very practices he engages in, never once in his eight Senate campaigns has he led by example.”

Milne noted that Leahy refused to accept a challenge by Jim Douglas in their 1992 race to refuse PAC money.

Milne’s 3-point plan to disinfect the Vermont Senate race from the influence of special interest money includes the following provisions he challenged Leahy to join him in abiding by:

  1. Limit Campaign Spending To $250,000. Vermonters want a grassroots campaign, not one dictated by millions in negative television advertising. $250,000 is enough to make our case to voters over the final 110 days of the election, as Scott Milne demonstrated in the 2014 governor’s race. “With 42 years in Washington and a nearly $3 million head start in this campaign, Sen. Leahy has no good excuse for not accepting this modest proposal to voluntarily control the outrageous and corrupting influence of money in politics,” said Milne.
  1. Prohibit & Return Special Interest PAC Money. Special interest PAC money is legalized bribery. If Sen. Leahy means what he says about limiting “the undue influence of wealthy individuals and special interests in our elections,” then he can begin practicing what he preaches today by returning or donating to charity the nearly $1.3 million in PAC money he has already accepted, and shut the door on future PAC contributions. “With a reasonable spending limit in place, Sen. Leahy should have no need for the nearly $1.3 million in special interest campaign donations he has taken just since his last campaign,” said Milne.
  1. Close Down & Divest Leadership PAC. Sen. Leahy has accepted millions of dollars into his leadership PAC over the past decade, virtually all of it from special interests and their lobbyists. Milne called on Leahy to close down his leadership PAC and donate the remaining money to charity. “Leadership PACs are just another mechanism for special interests to curry favor with powerful politicians, and for politicians to in turn curry favor with their colleagues in order to advance their own political careers,” said Milne.