Bill Sorrell

Recent Posts

AG’s office finds no bribery in wind project proposal


MONTPELIER — The Vermont Attorney General’s office has reviewed a proposal a proposal from a wind developer to pay registered voters in the towns where they hope to build wind turbines and determined that it does not amount to a bribe. Iberdrola Renewables is looking to erect 24 turbines in the towns of Grafton and Windham in Windham county. The company recently revamped its proposal, reducing the number of wind turbines from 28 to 24, in an attempt to ease concerns in those communities. Eight turbines would remain in Grafton but Windham would see four less. The company also sweetened the financial pot of money it is offering to the towns in its revised proposal. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Sorrell announces Volkswagen settlement


MONTPELIER — Vermonters who purchased or leased certain Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles are set to receive a cash payment of more than $5,000 from Volkswagen and have the option of having their vehicle modified or bought back by Volkswagen under the terms of a settlement agreement with the company, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell said. The agreement is a partial resolution of a consumer class-action suit and a lawsuit filed by the federal government against Volkswagen in California. The company has admitted to federal officials that it installed software in cars that would intentionally provide false information to technicians during emissions tests. The software was installed in up to 11 million vehicles worldwide. The settlement announced Tuesday, upon judicial review, will provide about 3,000 owners of 2.0-liter diesel vehicles in Vermont with a restitution payment of at least $5,100 and the choice of having Volkswagen buy back their vehicle or modification of their vehicle that will reduce emissions, as the company originally promised to do. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,

Bucknam launches bid for AG

Deborah Bucknam (courtesy photo)

MONTPELIER — Republican Deborah Bucknam has entered the race for attorney general and will challenge T.J. Donovan, the Democratic state’s attorney for Chittenden County, for the office. Bucknam, 69, from Walden, officially announced her candidacy Monday and plans to hold a formal kick-off in the near future where she will outline the themes of her campaign. On Monday, Bucknam said her experience as an attorney in Vermont spurred her desire to run. “I’ve been practicing law for 37 years and representing mostly individuals and some small businesses, and I just see the effect of the justice system and Vermont state government on individuals. In recent years I haven’t really liked what I’ve seen,” she said. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Shumlin administration releases emails it sought to delete


MONTPELIER — The Shumlin administration has released the first batch of emails sent and received by five former staffers that it sought to destroy last month, a request that drew heavy criticism because it came just days before state and federal fraud charges against two Northeast Kingdom developers were revealed. The first batch of emails — about 5,500 — that were slated for deletion was released to the Vermont Press Bureau Friday as part of a public records request. The administration agreed to release the emails after they were reviewed to redact protected and privileged information. Scott Coriell, spokesman for Gov. Peter Shumlin, said all members of the governor’s staff, excluding the governor, have spent the past week completing the request, which required about 200 staff hours. There are tens of thousands of emails that are subject to the records request, according to Coriell, and the administration has no precise timeline for when the remaining records will be released. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Shumlin administration defends its request to delete emails

Darren Springer, chief of staff for Gov. Peter Shumlin, briefs reporters on the administration's request to delete the emails of former members of the governor's staff. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

MONTPELIER — The Shumlin administration sought Monday to disassociate its request to delete the emails of five former staffers from a major civil fraud case revealed last week against two developers in the Northeast Kingdom who used a foreign investor program overseen by the state to raise capital. Top administration officials briefed reporters on its request made prior to the public revelation of fraud charges against Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros to delete the emails of former administration staff members that are more than three years old. The request to delete emails came under fire over the weekend after it was revealed in a article. “To conflate them is absolutely incorrect and inaccurate,” Darren Springer, chief of staff for Gov. Peter Shumlin, told reporters Monday. One of the former staffers in question, Alexandra MacLean, left the governor’s office for a job at Jay Peak, where many of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program development projects headed by Stenger and Quiros took place. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Tobacco stance puts Sorrell on list of bad AGs


illiam Sorrell is among the worst attorneys general in the United States, according to a report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Sorrell has received a fair amount of scrutiny of late, following a deep-dig story from Paul Heintz of Seven Days which uncovered a number of emails that indicate the possibility of campaign finance violations. Heintz’s investigation of Sorrell followed an investigation by Sorrell into the campaign of Dean Corren, a progressive who ran for lieutenant governor in 2014. Following Heintz’s story, Sorrell — who is tasked with investigating campaign finance violations — declined to investigate himself, saying he knew he hadn’t done anything wrong. This apparent conflict of interest led Gov. Peter Shumlin to appoint an independent investigator to look into Sorrell’s campaign finance practices, and has led Sen. Anthony Pollina to call for the creation of an ethics commission. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,

Corren considers second run for lieutenant governor

Dean Corren (photo courtesy of VPR)

MONTPELIER — Progressive Dean Corren says he is weighing a second bid for lieutenant governor in the 2016 election but will only do so if a case involving his last campaign and the state’s public financing for candidates is resolved in time. Corren, a former state representative from Burlington, fared poorly in his 2014 bid to unseat Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott. Scott received 62.1 percent of the vote to Corren’s 36 percent. Scott is now considering a run for governor in 2016 after Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin announced in June that he would not seek a fourth, two-year term. Corren said he is considering a second run for the number two spot. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

T.J. Donovan to run for AG

MONTPELIER — Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan says he will run for attorney general regardless of whether longtime incumbent Bill Sorrell decides to seek re-election. Donovan, 41, came close to knocking off Sorrell in a 2012 Democratic primary for the state’s top law enforcement position. Donovan lost to Sorrell, who was appointed to the position in 1997 by former Gov. Howard Dean and has won re-election each cycle since, by just 714 votes. Donovan opted to sit out the 2014 race and instead concentrated on his work in Chittenden County. That work has garnered plenty of attention statewide and has served, in some cases, as pilot projects for the state. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Sorrell outlines state’s GMO case for lawmakers

MONTPELIER — Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell told the Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday that he expects a judge to rule on dueling motions in the GMO labeling case within the next three months, which will help lay out a path for the rest of the case. A host of food industry groups filed suit last year against the state’s GMO labeling law, set to take effect July 1, 2016, claiming it is unconstitutional. Sorrell briefed the committee Wednesday on the status of the case. The plaintiffs have asked the judge for a summary judgment, claiming the state is restricting their free speech rights by forcing them to label products that contain GMOs. They also claim the state cannot prevent them from calling a product natural if it contains GMOs. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Vermont calls more GMO hearings, extends comment deadline

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Attorney General’s office is calling a second public hearing on the state’s rules to implement the ban on genetically modified organisms.

In addition to the second hearing scheduled for Feb. 4 at the Vermont Statehouse, the state has extended by two weeks the deadline for submitting written comments on the proposed rules. The new deadline for written comments is Feb. 12. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,