The well-funded pro-single-payer group called “Vermont Leads” has launched its own political action committee.
Funded entirely by an out-of-state union, Vermont Leads earlier this summer aired a six-figure ad blitz urging voters to support single-payer. More recently, the group won headlines for picketing outside the Burlington home of Lenore Broughton, who has poured at least $680,000 of her own money into getting Republicans elected next Tuesday.
With Nov. 6 fast approaching, Vermont Leads has turned its focus from issue advocacy to electioneering, launching a PAC that is separate from the tax-exempt nonprofit that aired the TV ads.
Mass media filings submitted yesterday to the secretary of state’s office show that Vermont Leads PAC has spent about $13,000 on a series of mailings supporting statewide and local candidates.
Democratic candidates Cassandra Gekas (lite guv), Doug Hoffer (auditor), Peter Shumlin and Beth Pearce (treasurer) are all featured in the postcards.
The group is pushing five candidates for Senate – they look to be paying special attention to Franklin County and the Northeast Kingdom. The group is also supporting 14 candidates for the House.
Peter Sterling, executive director of Vermont Leads, has been up front from the beginning about the source of the group’s money. The Service Employees International Union doesn’t have a single member in Vermont, but says it’s underwriting the single-payer advocacy because its believes that if Vermont can pull off single-payer, then the program will spread to other states where it does have members.
Some view the SEIU’s interest in single-payer as a ploy to win the political clout it will need to pass a labor bill next year that would allow it to enlist more than 5,000 home-care workers in Vermont.