A court will hold a hearing on a campaign finance complaint filed by Republican Attorney General candidate Jack McMullen – but not until after Election Day.
McMullen wants the Chittenden Superior Court to look at whether Democratic incumbent Attorney general Bill Sorrell illegally coordinated his campaign with a political action committee.
The court has scheduled the hearing for Nov. 8. McMullen says the timing is unfortunate.
"The statute is pretty clear. It calls for taking every measure to schedule a prompt hearing, obviously for the situation we’re in where a candidate affected by this coordination is facing an election and nothing’s been done," he says.
McMullen says court officials told his lawyer that next week was the earliest possible date for the hearing.
The Republican candidate has charged that Sorrell’s campaign coordinated strategy with the Committee for Justice and Fairness, a political action committee funded by Democratic attorneys general. The PAC spent $194,000 on ads before the primary election.
According to McMullen, the evidence for the alleged coordination is that the ads featured former Gov. Howard Dean. McMullen says Dean has also given political advice to Sorrell.
"I believe Bill Sorrell is breaking the law. He’s not holding himself to the same standard as he applies to others," he says.
Sorrell says McMullen’s allegations are unfounded.
"There was no coordination. I’ve said that repeatedly. None whatsoever. I’m well aware of the law," he says. "And I was very vigilant in making sure we complied with the law."
Sorrell says McMullen is making a desperate grab for attention days before the election. The incumbent notes that McMullen alerted the media and held a news conference on his petition before serving Sorrell with the court papers.