A Vermont federal court has confirmed a prior ruling, in Corren versus Donovan and Condos, that Vermont’s public financing statute is constitutional. In its decision(link is external) on Thursday, the Court also ruled that Plaintiffs are not entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees for the action. The case refers to the 2014 Progressive/Democrat candidate for lieutenant governor Dean Corren versus Attorney General TJ Donovan and Secretary of State Jim Condos. The federal lawsuit was filed in 2015 in an attempt block the state from pursuing a campaign finance law enforcement action in state court. Plaintiffs also asked the Court to declare Vermont’s system for the public financing of election campaigns unconstitutional.
In March 2016, the Court granted the State’s motion to dismiss the case, refusing to interfere with the pending state enforcement action and rejecting all of Plaintiffs’ constitutional challenges to the statute. Plaintiffs then asked the Court to reconsider its ruling.
In its opinion on Thursday, the Court reiterated that state courts, not federal courts, have the authority to decide whether a mass email violated the prohibition on contributions to publicly financed candidates. The Court also reaffirmed that it is constitutional to prohibit publicly financed candidates from self-funding campaigns from their own resources.