Jim Douglas accuses Governor Shumlin of public corruption

Crossposted at The Vermont Political Observer.

The most dramatic moment of Saturday’s first gubernatorial debate had nothing to do with the 2014 campaign or the positions of the four candidates. Instead, it emerged from former Governor Jim Douglas’ new memoir, “The Vermont Way.” At about the 36-minute mark, moderator Mark Johnson asked Governor Shumlin about a passage in the book.

Here is the direct quotation from Douglas’ book, as read by Johnson:

“The Senate leader, who succeeded me in the governorship, was a strong proponent of gay marriage. Since he was nominated by a scant 200 votes in the Democratic primary, their support may well have provided the margin of victory. He later reciprocated by appointing one of the leading lobbyists of the movement to the Vermont Supreme Court.”

Am I the only one who is shocked by that?

Jim Douglas is accusing Peter Shumlin of public corruption at the highest level – of giving away a seat on our state’s highest court as part of a political deal. By doing so, he implies that the recipient of Shumlin’s putative largesse, Beth Robinson, is unqualified to be on the Court.

Jim Douglas has said repeatedly that he isn’t in the business of criticizing his successor. He sure has a funny way of showing it.

Not only did Douglas think this, not only did he say it – he committed it to writing in his own official account of his years in office. (His editor/publisher, Democratic State Senator Chris Bray, allowed it to stand. What was he thinking?)

This is despicable, and Douglas deserves full criticism for it. And it is certainly not, in the words of his self-aggrandizing title, “The Vermont Way.”

Funny thing, though: Every media outlet in the state produced stories about the Douglas memoir. As far as I know, not a single one mentioned this passage, in which Jim Douglas accuses Peter Shumlin of public corruption. A crime.

Mark Johnson was the first, and only, media person to report this.

Most of the media accounts of the Douglas memoir (aside from Paul Heintz’ hard-hitting review in Seven Days) were softball affairs. They sorta mentioned Douglas’ long-held grudges against the media, but otherwise downplayed anything that might be controversial or reflect badly on Douglas. That is a remarkable failure by our watchdogs of the Fourth Estate.

By the way, the other three candidates for Governor recognized a white-hot potato when they saw it. None expressed the tiniest bit of criticism for Shumlin or Robinson. They all, including Republican Scott Milne, backed away from the question as fast as they could. None even mentioned the name “Jim Douglas.” A wise choice.

9 thoughts on “Jim Douglas accuses Governor Shumlin of public corruption

  1. Speaking for my running mate Sam…or Scott…whatever…I can safely say that we will not make this an issue.  Frankly, Sam Milne has told me repeatedly over drinks at Charlie Os that he always thought Jim Douglas was the R-Word they always talk about.  This story confirms it.  Sam and I don’t care.  If we get elected, we will appoint loyal supporters to positions.  That’s what people who get elected do.  Didn’t Jim do that when he was Gov?  Or was he too stupid to do that?  Hmmm…I gotta go.  Sam/Scott just walked out the back door with the blonde at the end of the bar.  I hope he doesn’t offer her an assitant AG job to Bill Sorrell.  He’s been offering a lot of those to women we meet in here.  I gotta tell him that blonde might be writuing a book.

  2. Douglas knows how to whistle-he puts his lips together and blows.

    Washington Times headline for the review of Douglas’ book : Ex-Gov. Douglas’ memoir tackles gay marriage veto Douglas wouldn’t change a thing

    “I believe, however, that the institution of marriage is worth preserving in its traditional form,” Douglas wrote in “The Vermont Way: A Republican Governor Leads America’s Most Liberal State.”

    Almost four years after he left office and after a string of federal court decisions legalizing gay marriage, Douglas said last week that when he vetoed the gay marriage bill, he was acting on information he had at the time. He said he couldn’t speculate about what he would do now if faced with the same decision.

    Yeah, he won’t speculate, but the parting shot at Shumlin and Beth Robinson in his book is nice indication to his readers (and future voters) he hasn’t evolved.

  3. if we are really talking about the Court for a minute,  that Beth is sharp as a tack and a great attorney and subsequently will continue to be a great Justice of the Court.

    AhShucksshortpants did a great job of destroying the underpinnings of our social safety net while governor.  

    Those who think of him as a moderate R will eventually note that although he didn’t do a blatant charge up the hill, he did cut service effectively by cutting the employees who offered and maintained them by gutting government.   Not to say Jim was not smart, but he often was not quick and sat on his hands while wonder boy came up with something devious.  

    All the faith in the world in Beth.   ’nuff said

  4. From an article published under the header, “Nixon’s Man On Campus” in the “The Campus” at Middlebury College in 1970:

    “In relation to Vermonters, Douglas’ conservative outlook might pass unnoticed, but on a college campus Douglas is somewhat of a political loner, defending Nixon’s Supreme Court nominees … his segregation policies (‘I’m not sure there is segregation’), Vietnamization (‘a very admirable plan’) and even the Cambodian invasion (‘I personally would have liked a little more’).”

    The original story on the quote is from a January, 2006, Rutland Herald, Darren Allen piece.


  5. Did you all see the story in today’s Freep regarding the departure of Scott Milne’s campaign manager, Brent Burns of Pure Campaigns. Interestingly enough, the story appeared on the obituary page.

    The gist was that Burns needs a “stress break,” which he intends to use “hiking” and “enjoy[ing] fall in Vermont.” That there might be more to the story is barely alluded to by Burns (and not at all by Milne in the quotes provided): “All the rest is between Scott and I.”

    The rest?! There is a “rest?”

    So, maybe Mr. Milne needs all the outside help he can get from wherever, including that so-called “nice guy” with a real wide mean streak, Jimmy D.

    Stay tuned.


    In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. 
~ H. L. Mencken

  6. If you haven’t heard it yet it’s worth hopping over to listen to the Douglas interview on Vermont Edition. He tried to duck every question, while being pointedly, gratuitously nasty, especially when it came to his successor.


    Pretty easy to do when he knows he won’t have to face the voters,, eh?

    He’s had the reputation as a nice guy, but anyone who’s been paying attention knows he’s a nasty piece of work.

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