AP Exclusive:

While governor of Vermont, Howard Dean accepted personal pay from special interests at least five times for speeches and also received more than $60,000 in checks and pledges for his charity fund from insurers who benefited from a state tax break, according to documents and interviews.

Dean’s fees and charitable donations were legal and did not have to be disclosed under Vermont law but were detailed in correspondence and tax records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The lion’s share of Dean’s $13,633 in personal speaking fees as governor came from a drug company that was embroiled in one of the nation’s most high profile sexual harassment cases, which ultimately ended with a nearly $10 million federal penalty.

The checks and pledges totaling at least $62,500 to Dean’s Vermont Computer Project, an initiative the governor created to donate equipment to Vermont schools, came from captive insurance and reinsurance companies, nontraditional insurers which provide health care coverage to companies in tax-friendly ways.

Dean’s campaign said Friday any suggestion the payments or donations influenced his actions as governor was “laughable.”

“Anyone who knows Howard Dean knows he’s a straight-shooter who calls them as he sees them and nothing, aside from his interest in the best public policy, ever influenced his decisions as governor,” spokesman Jay Carson said.

But many of Dean’s former gubernatorial colleagues, including his successor in Vermont, said they don’t accept special interest speaking fees to avoid appearances or because of legal prohibitions.

This sounds like a non-story to me. I’m not sure why this is being touted as breaking news.

Update (2347): Added to Sean Hackbarth’s Duck Hunt.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven says:

    I think that the press is desperate for some sort of story or drama heading into Iowa. And the bottom line is, there ain’t any.