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New Committee Created To Examine Vermont's Campaign Finance Laws

Vermont's attorney general and secretary of state are launching a committee to examine Vermont's current campaign finance laws and recommend changes.

According to a press release, the joint Committee on Campaign Finance Education, Compliance and Reform will seek input from elected officials, PACs, activists, political parties and voters at public forums throughout the state.

Secretary of State Jim Condos and Attorney General TJ Donovan appointed four members to the committee:  Jake Perkinson, an attorney and former chair of the Vermont Democratic Party; Brady Toensing, also an attorney, and current vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party; Josh Wronski, the executive director of the Vermont Progressive Party; and Natalie Silver from the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.

Perkinson will serve as the chair of the committee.

The press release states that additional members will be invited to join to “create a balanced and experienced group to address these important issues.”

Donovan said the committee will look at general issues, though he expects things like defining campaign contributions will be addressed.

“It's the ultimate question of, 'What's the contribution?'” Donovan said. “When you look at the law, it is 'anything of value.' What does that mean? Does that mean an email is a contribution? What are the exceptions to the rule?”

Donovan said that the committee will also seek to inform people about the campaign finance laws so they don’t accidently break the laws.

“Most times, these violations are not malicious, nor are they intentional,” Donovan said. “It's because folks don't understand the law. So let's go out and educate folks, raise awareness and build a culture of compliance.”

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