Peter Shumilin: Magnet for Out of State Political Contributions

by Robert Maynard

In a recent post on True North Reports, Rob Roper pointed out how the protests by the SEIU funded  Vermont Leads in front of a private Vermont citizen’s home, just because she was funding Vermonters First, illustrated the point being made by Vermonters First:

The first issue on the Vermonters First website  is titled, “The Money Imbalance: Vermonters are getting shut out of their own state government.” It goes on to point out,

“For a long time now, Vermont has been seen by the out-of-state political Left as a place to spend and experiment. From issues ranging from radical and unconstitutional campaign finance laws to a healthcare system that average Vermonter cannot afford, it has reached a point where many Vermonters feel we no longer have a voice in how we are governed.”

I have written about how money flowing into the Vermont non-profits from out of state has helped move our politics to the left even on issues that our politicians did not campaign on.  In fact, it look s like some of our most prominent politicians have become a magnet for out of state political contributions.  In the current campaign cycle, according to Center for Resposnsive Politics, Bernie Sanders has received 84% of is contributions from out of sate.  See more about that here.  In the same time period, Senator Leahy has received 87% of his campaign funding from out of State and Peter Welch has received 55% of his campaign funding from out of state.  As troubling as this is at least one could make the case that elected officials for federal offices, that deal mostly with national issues, are likely to attract out of state funding.  At the same time, one would not expect the Governor of a state to become a magnet for out of state political contributions.  Apparently, that is the path that Peter Shumlin appears determined to travel.

In August, the Burlington Free Press ran a story about how Peter Shumlin actively courted the financial support of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and offered to be a national spokesman for the group:

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the pro-marijuana group NORML, doesn’t get many calls like this. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin rang him up last week, he said, and told him he’d like to be a national spokesman for the marijuana reform movement.

“I’ve taken tens of thousands of phone calls,” St. Pierre said. “Not many from sitting governors.”

The reason for Shumlin’s call: “What Shumlin wanted was money, of course. This was a fundraising call. St. Pierre said Shumlin asked him for as much of the $6,000 that NORML’s political action committee is allowed to give. St. Pierre said he’s got to run it by the PAC board, but he hopes the PAC will give the full $6,000.”  Actually, according the National Institute on Money in State Politics, their total contributions to the Shumlin campaign so far is $8,000.  Furthermore, it is not just the PAC board that is looking to fund Shumlin’s campaign, but their rank and fie supporters from all around the country: “I want to relate to NORML supporters my recent call with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin his support for major cannabis law reforms and his wont as a re-elected governor to become a national spokesperson for cannabis law reforms before the Congress and Executive branch.”

Nor is NORML the only source of out of state funding that Peter Shumlin’s money magnet has attracted.  In addition to the $100,000 it used to get Vermont Leads started, the Service Employees International Union has “invested” $12,000 in the Shumlin campaign.  $,6000 from the New York City branch and $6,000 from the Washington D.C branch.  That is the only political campaign in Vermont that they have contributed to.  A look at Shumlin’s biggest donors, ones who have contribute $6,000 or more, reveals a similar pattern.

TABLE 1: Top 20 Contributors
Contributor Total % of Total Sector
MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT $8,000 0.78% Ideology/Single Issue See Records
AFSCME $7,000 0.68% Labor See Records
COCA-COLA $6,000 0.58% General Business See Records
1199 SEIU UNITED HEALTHCARE WORKERS EAST $6,000 0.58% Labor See Records
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS $6,000 0.58% Labor See Records
AFL-CIO $6,000 0.58% Labor See Records


All of these PACs are from out of state.  Again, this only accounts for the PAC itself and not the rank and file supporters of each of these PACs.  Of the more than $1 million that Governor Shumlin has raised so far for his campaign, 46.8% of it has come from out of state, with 1.2% unknown.  The single biggest source for contributions to the Shumlin campaign so far is New York City, with Washington D.C. not far behind.   This is for a first term Governor, who is not expected to deal with national issues in the same way that holders of federal offices do.  Peter Welch started his career as a Congressman receiving slightly more of his contributions from inside Vermont than from out of state.  It did not take long for this to change, as he now receives more on his campaign contributions from out of sate.  It looks like Governor Shumlin is determined to pass Welch by and catch up to Leahy and Sanders when it comes to being a magnet for out of state political contributions.

2 thoughts on “Peter Shumilin: Magnet for Out of State Political Contributions

  1. A current book discussing the demographics driving such donations is Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart.” In an early chapter he describes how a very large proportion of America’s money class now lives in just about 100 Zip Codes clustered much as Shumlin donors are.

  2. Shumlin’s side always wants to cry foul whenever his opposition plays by their game. Don’t they know that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?

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