Planned Parenthood of Northern New England has agreed to pay $30,000 in settlement of a claim that it violated campaign finance laws. The group’s Action Fund spent around $119,000 in ads against Brian Dubie, Republican candidate in the 2010 Vermont gubernatorial race. It also received donations in excess of $2,000 from individuals.
The Attorney General’s Office believes that the Action Fund should have been registered with the secretary of state and should have been required to fill out campaign finance reports.
The Action Fund claims that it did not make contributions directly to campaigns, and as such, it is except from contribution limitations. According to Green Mountain Outlook, a Vermont news source, the state found that Planned Parenthood had another Political Action Committee (PAC) that did make direct contributions to campaigns. Given the close connection between the PAC and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Action Fund, the state believed that the Action Fund could not claim that it made only independent spending decisions.
Planned Parenthood decided not to fight the claim, but rather to settle it. This will end investigations into the matter. Incidentally, in the 2010 race at issue, Brian Dubie lost to the Democratic opponent by a narrow margin. When he conceded the election, Dubie was only 1.5 percentage points behind his opponent.