Attorney General Donovan Settles Corren Campaign Finance Lawsuit | Off Message

Attorney General Donovan Settles Corren Campaign Finance Lawsuit


  • File photo/Seven Days
  • Dean Corren
Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan on Tuesday announced that he settled a campaign finance lawsuit against former lieutenant governor candidate Dean Corren for $255, resolving a tangled case initiated by his predecessor, former attorney general Bill Sorrell.

The case, which was scheduled to go to trial in December, dates to 2014, when Corren, running as a Democrat and Progressive, made a failed bid to unseat then-lieutenant governor Phil Scott.

Corren received about $180,000 in public money for his campaign. When accepting public financing in Vermont, candidates agree not to solicit contributions from outside sources.

Sorrell alleged that Corren violated the law when he asked the Democratic Party to email its 19,000-person subscriber list touting his candidacy. Sorrell sued Corren in state court, seeking to have him pay $72,000 in penalties.

The email itself has been valued at $255, the figure Corren will now pay in the settlement.

Corren in turn sued Sorrell in federal court, seeking a ruling that the email did not represent a campaign contribution. Corren also claimed that certain aspects of Vermont's campaign rules governing public financing are illegal. A federal judge dismissed that case in 2016, but Corren has appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City.