Tag Archives: Bruce Lisman

Snelling apologizes to Lisman, but says he believes CFV founder’s gubernatorial hopes are real

Hours after alleging publicly that Campaign for Vermont founder Bruce Lisman has his eyes on governor’s seat, Mark Snelling apologized to the former Wall Street executive for the “mistake.”

In an email to Lisman Thursday night, Snelling wrote:


I owe you an apology.

I was doing an interview and I was trying to make a point about future elections and the dynamics of the various parties and how they can interact along with possible third parties.

To make my point, I spoke about your organization and made statements about which I have no first-hand knowledge.
It was a discussion where CFV was a tangent and I should not have gone down that tangent.

It was a mistake and I apologize.


The mea culpa arrived in Lisman’s in-box at about 8:15 p.m., about two hours after Snelling’s claims were broadcast in a news bit on this site.

“The reality is that within the last eight weeks, Bruce Lisman has considered running for governor,” Snelling said Thursday afternoon. “He’s had a budget put in front of him, saying that it would cost $3.2 million to run for governor. And he sat through a three to four-hour meeting and thought about it and looked at all sides of it and decided against it.”

Snelling, who confirmed this morning that he sent the apology to Lisman last night, said he stands by his assertion about Lisman’s gubernatorial aspirations.

“I fully believe that what I said was true,” Snelling said this morning.

But Snelling said he felt that the story was devoid of the context in which he’d made the comments. Snelling said that if Lisman chose to pull the trigger on a bid, then he would, as Snelling understands it, run as an Independent. And as part of that candidacy, Snelling said, Campaign for Vermont would send an emissary to the Vermont Republican Party, and prevail upon the organization to leave the top of the ticket open to give Lisman a one-on-one shot against Shumlin.

Snelling said he thinks that could be terrible for the party. And he said it’s a potentially relevant piece of information as it relates to the current battle for the GOP chairmanship between David Sunderland – the choice of Lt. Gov. Phil Scott – and John MacGovern, who is favored by Snelling and outgoing incumbent Jack Lindley.

As a member of Campaign for Vermont, Snelling said, David Sunderland might be willing to leave the top of the Republican ticket open for Lisman, lest he split the conservative vote with an ‘R.’

(Snelling had earlier called Sunderland a “founding” member of CFV – a designation given by the group to its earliest members. But according to CFV, Sunderland isn’t a founding member,  but a “partner,” as the organization refers to its regular members.)

Fueling his concern, Snelling said, was Scott’s lack of public enthusiasm for the last Republican gubernatorial candidate, on whose behalf Scott, the most popular Republican in Vermont, seemed uninterested in stumping for on the campaign trail.

Snelling, Lindley, and Darcie Johnston, a longtime Republican operative and a part of their inner circle, have amped up their criticism of Scott in recent days for what they say is his too-cozy relationship with the Democratic governor.

The noise about a Lisman run, combined with Sunderland’s ties to the man, combined with Scott’s perceived ambivalence toward Republican candidates, Senlling said, make him wary of putting Sunderland and Scott in charge of the party’s statewide apparatus.

“I felt like my comment about Bruce ended up out of context of that initial discussion,” Snelling said.

Whatever the context, Snelling said he “felt badly” about bringing Lisman “into a greater discussion about the party when I could have made my point more effectively by speaking in more general terms.”

“I’ve had a relationship with Bruce for many years,” Snelling said. “And I very much value that relationship.”

Mark Snelling says Bruce Lisman eying governor’s seat; Lisman’s people say “not true”

Bruce Lisman has dismissed as groundless the frequent speculation in the media about his political ambitions.

But Mark Snelling says the founder of Campaign for Vermont is far more interested in running for governor than he’s let on publicly.

According to Snelling, a longtime member of the Vermont GOP who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2010 and now serves as the party’s treasurer, Lisman in recent weeks gave serious thought to a 2014 bid against Peter Shumlin.

“The reality is that within the last eight weeks, Bruce Lisman has considered running for governor,” Snelling said today. “He’s had a budget put in front of him, saying that it would cost $3.2 million to run for governor. And he sat through a three to four-hour meeting and thought about it and looked at all sides of it and decided against it.”

Asked to source his tip, Snelling would say only that Montpelier has “very thin walls,” and that “Vermont is a very small place.”

He hinted that the alleged information came from within the ranks of Campaign for Vermont, the issue-advocacy outfit into which Lisman has poured about $1 million of his own money.

“Not everybody in Campaign for Vermont thinks that it would be a good idea,” Snelling said. “They think that Campaign for Vermont would be best served not being involved in electoral politics.”

Lisman was in Washington, D.C., Thursday and unavailable for comment. But Shawn Shouldice, a Montpelier lobbyist who works with Lisman’s organization, said there’s absolutely no truth to Snelling’s claim.

“It’s not true. There’s no discussion about running for governor,” Shouldice said. “Campaign for Vermont is a self-sustaining organization, and maybe this speaks to the success we’re having.”

Lisman’s alleged gubernatorial dreams are emblematic of the broader influence that Campaign for Vermont, according to Snelling, is hoping to exert on Republican politics in the state. Snelling’s evidence: David Sunderland, the GOP chairman candidate representing the Phil Scott wing of the Republican Party, is a “founding member” of Campaign for Vermont.

Lisman spends big – $200,000 big – on Campaign for Vermont

In a lobbyist disclosure form filed with the secretary of state today, Bruce Lisman, founder of Campaign forVermont, revealed he spent more than $200,000 of his own money on the nascent organization between Jan. 1 and March 31.

It’s a significant amount of money byVermont standards, and Lisman sought to get out in front of the news with a press release fired off to news outlets moments ago.

“I am spending my own money because I am concerned about the economic damage current policies are having on lower and middle income Vermonters,” Lisman said in a written statement. “The futures of our state and our young people are at stake. I’ve worked hard and have done well. Spending my money onVermont’s future is more important than standing by passively.”

The Vermont native and UVM graduate made quite a name for himself on Wall Street, where he rose to head the global equities division at Bear Stearns, a position he held when the investment firm collapsed in 2008.

Most Vermonters by now have probably heard Lisman’s voice on their local radio station. He’s bought air time to run dozens of ads, some of which criticize the Shumlin administration’s stance on taxes, health care and energy.

Lisman swears his group is a policy outfit with no political motives. But his sustained focus on hot-button political issues has perked Democrats’ antenna.

The Vermont Democratic Party earlier this year asked Attorney General Bill Sorrell to launch an investigation into Campaign forVermont, alleging the group had run afoul of campaign-finance laws that prohibit 501(c)4 organizations, like his, to advocate for the election or defeat of a specific candidate.

The group’s tax status allows it to raise unlimited funds without disclosing the names of its donors, so long as it doesn’t cross the line into electioneering.

Sorrell summarily dismissed the complaint. But the incident served to expose the adversarial relationship between Democratic party officials and the political newcomer using his considerable resources to air conservative talking points.

Lisman has repeatedly denied any interest in running for political office this year, and he insists his organization is totally apolitical.

“Across the board, the future ofVermont’s prosperity is at risk.  From the pursuit of expensive energy, an impenetrable education financing system, an all-in-bet on a new health care coverage system and a state budget growing faster than our economy, Vermonter’s hopes for a more realistic and common sense approach for a prosperous economy are being highjacked,” he said.

With lines like that, he’ll have a tough time convincing people he isn’t out to defeat the Democratic incumbent.

The disclosure forms show that Lisman’s group spent $194,000 on advertising, $15,000 on compensation, and $3,000 on “other.”

The release indicated that Lisman “will continue to conduct outreach” in the future.


Sorrell: No violation by Lisman, Campaign for Vermont

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MONTPELIER – The Vermont Attorney General’s office announced today that an ad run by the group Campaign for Vermont did not lead to a violation of state campaign finance law. The Vermont Democratic Party called on state Attorney General Bill Sorrell … Continue reading

Lisman responds to Dems’ attack

MONTPELIER — Bruce Lisman, the former Bear Stearns executive who has became the face and the voice of the “Campaign for Vermont,” said in a written statement the group is “factually and legally informing and engaging Vermonters” about important political decisions being made in the state.

The claim about “legally informing” is key here.

Lisman issued the statement in the wake of the Vermont Democratic Party’s complaint that Campaign for Vermont violated state campaign finance laws. Continue reading

Dems say Lisman ads violate elections laws

He swore late last year that his newly launched “Campaign for Vermont Prosperity” wouldn’t be political. But has Bruce Lisman already run afoul of Vermont’s campaign finance laws?

According to the Vermont Democratic Party, which filed a complaint today with Attorney General Bill Sorrell, Lisman’s organization has violated state law by engaging in overt electioneering without registering as a political action committee. Continue reading

The Campaign for Vermont marches on…

MONTPELIER – When a group launches into a news release by saying it “welcomed growing momentum,” it doesn’t seem to give much promise the following sentences and paraphraphs will deliver.

But Campaign for Vermont, launched by former Bear Stearns exec Bruce Lisman and others, is worth watching.

And the latest from the group includes a long list of the group’s most recent supporters, and names and faces are always fun.

Here’s the list of people the Campaign for Vermont identified  as its newest “partners,” after the break. Continue reading