The checkbook behind the Republican super PAC “Vermonters First” belongs to a woman named Lenore Broughton, according to a disclosure filed this afternoon by the group’s treasurer, Tayt Brooks.
A quick background check reveals that Broughton – whose $100,000 contribution constitutes the lone funding source thus far for Vermonters First – is no stranger to money in politics.
According to federal elections data, she’s donated nearly $70,000 to federal candidates and PACs in 2011 and 2012 alone. Beneficiaries include Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan, Minnesota Sen. Michele Bachmann, and Virginia Senate candidate Allen West.
She dropped another $115,000 in the 2008 cycle, including a $55,500 contribution to the McCain-Palin Victory fund.
Brooks says Broughton has lived inVermontfor 40 years and is “very private.” Efforts to contact her have so far been unsuccessful.
According to an archived piece by former Seven Days columnist Shay Totten, Broughton served on the board of Defenders Council of Vermont, which went hard after Burlington Telecom for carrying Al Jazeera English.
Totten referred to Broughton, aBurlingtonresident, as a “right-wing funder extraordinaire.”
Her projects include True North Radio, the conservative talk show now hosted by Rob Roper, former executive director of the Vermont Republican Party.
GOP Chairman Jack Lindley this afternoon called Broughton “a wonderful individual.”
“She’s one of those folks who has decided she’s going to put up her funds in order to ensureVermontdoesn’t go down a rabbit trail it shouldn’t go down,” Lindley said.
In documents filed with the Federal Elections Commission, Broughton is described as a self-employed business owner. Lindley said her family was in the retail business.
For the past week, Vermonters First has run 15-second ads touting the candidacies of Vince Illuzzi and Wendy Wilton. Today saw the beginning of a weeklong run of 30-second spots criticizing single-payer.
“Health care is a $5 billion issue and the governor and Legislature have decided they don’t want to talk about how to finance it until after the election,” Brooks said. “That’s unfortunate, and Vermonters deserve more than that.”
As for whether the group will drop money on the guy who’s actually trying to unseat Peter Shumlin, Brooks was more cryptic.
“I’m not going to get into why various candidates haven’t necessarily been up on the airwaves to date,” Brooks said. “We’ve focused on a couple of races, but I think it’s fair to say those aren’t the only two races we’ll be focusing on, and I guess I’ll just leave it at that.”