Tayt Brooks

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Conservative super PAC back in action with mailings that hit Dems over new taxes

The conservative super PAC “Vermonters First” is venturing back into legislative politics, this time with a statewide mailing that hammers Democratic lawmakers for proposed increases on a slew of taxes. Earlier this year, Vermonters First, which spent about $1 million on behalf of Republican candidates during the last election cycle, aired a series of 15-second television ads calling Dems on the carpet for a proposed increase in the gas tax. The group, funded almost exclusively (as of the latest campaign-finance disclosure deadlines) by Burlington heiress Lenore Broughton, is out now with glossy tri-folds, which began arriving Tuesday in the mailboxes of voters in districts with Democrats in the House. “(Your representative here) just voted to go on a massive taxing spree!” the mailing says. A photograph of a shopping cart filled with a pair of jeans, gas can, miniature house, cup of soda and a burger symbolizes the suite of provisions in three revenue bills passed by the Vermont House so far this yaer. Continue Reading →

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Democrats allege illegal use of Vermont seal by GOP super PAC – UPDATED

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Tayt Brooks, treasurer of the Republican super PAC working to support the candidacies of Wendy Wilton and Vince Illuzzi, said group has removed web ads alleged to have run afoul of a state statute that prohibits the use of the Vermont seal in advertisements. Brooks said he was unaware of the law until he was notified of the possible violation in an email from the Secretary of State’s office earlier today. ******

Vermont Democrats today accused a Republican super PAC of violating an arcane statute that prohibits the use of the state seal in advertisements. Vermonters First, the political action committee funded by GOP super patron Lenore Broughton, has been spending massive sums of money to bolster the electoral prospects of Wendy Wilton and Vince Illuzzi, Republican candidates for treasurer and auditor, respectively. In late July, Broughton’s shop began airing 15-second TV ads for the duo. Continue Reading →

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Vermonters First goes from airwaves to internets

The Republican super PAC spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on behalf of GOP candidates this fall finally has a web presence, and www.vermontersfirst.com features the same throw-the-bums-out motif that has defined its television ads and mass mailers. Burlington resident Lenore Broughton is the only known underwriter for the group, though a campaign finance deadline next Monday will reveal whether the organization has mustered any additional donors. Broughton spent $100,000 on the group’s first three television ads, and, as Seven Days’ Paul Heintz noted last week (http://7d.blogs.com/offmessage/2012/10/conservative-super-pac-dives-into-legislative-races.html), Vermonters First is now spending big on statewide mailings pitching local candidates for House and Senate. The website doesn’t include a list of preferred candidates – the closest it comes to naming names is a link to a roll call on two key votes on bills related to single-payer health care. But it does caution in severe terms against the ills of “one party rule,” which, according to the website, has created “an unhealthy dynamic where there is little debate, no incentive to engage good ideas, and no one to hold the majority accountable for their policies.”
“The result is troubling,” the site says. Continue Reading →

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Sales tax expansion likely not in offing for 2013, GOP ad notwithstanding

In its newest 30-second television ad, a Republican super PAC warns Vermonters that Montpelier is on the verge of enacting a major expansion of the sales tax. Really though, it’s probably not. It’s true that a number of prominent Democrats have voiced support for a plan that would lower sales tax rates by expanding the scope of things to which the sales tax applies. That would mean assessing a sales tax on services provided by auto mechanics, plumbers, lawyers, hair dressers and the like. Supporters of the idea say the economy has evolved since the sales tax came into being in 1971, and that the sales tax needs to reflect those changes in order to remain a sustainable source of revenue. Continue Reading →

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Untruth and consequences: Super PAC head denies, then admits, dinner with Brock

The head of Vermont’s new Republican super PAC stepped in it big time today when he lied to Seven Days reporter Paul Heintz about the last time he’d met with GOP gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock. Brock this morning held court with reporters outside the Central Vermont Medical Center to expand on the health care proposal he first unveiled earlier this month. When the topic of the GOP super PAC “Vermonters First” came up, Heintz asked Brock about whether he’d met recently with the group’s treasurer, Tayt Brooks. Why would Heintz care? The same federal laws that permit super PACs to spend unlimited sums of money to influence the outcomes of elections also forbid them from coordinating their activities in anyway with the candidates whose political prospects they’re trying to propel. Continue Reading →

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