March 20th, 2008

“Mr. Pollina Cannot Feign Ignorance”: Carleton Responds To Pollina Sit-Down

by Philip Baruth

Reaction to the admittedly gargantuan Pollina sit-down has been flowing in since Saturday. Today brought a response from Ian Carleton, Chair of the Vermont Democratic Party. And in the interest of honest give-and-take, we bring it to you unedited and unframed, just as it hit our in-box moments ago:

Dear Philip,

I enjoyed reading your interview with Anthony Pollina. It does, however, contain some misleading information that requires correction.

Mr. Pollina states: “[W]hen we talked about making the statement that I was going to be a candidate and then trying to raise the money, and then opening a bank account, all of that — at every step in that early process, we actually kept the Democratic party informed. We literally called them up to say, ‘We’re opening a bank account today,’ or ‘We’re gonna do this today.’”

Over the course of Mr. Pollina’s candidacy the VDP has received only one “heads-up” phone call from his campaign – when Pollina’s colleague Chris Pearson called to say that Pollina was going to file paperwork with the Secretary Of State’s office disclosing that he had raised in excess of $500. No other such communications took place.

Neither Pollina nor anyone on his behalf ever called the VDP to let us know that he was “opening a bank account today,” as Mr. Pollina claims in the interview, nor was any such call made about “trying to raise the money,” as Pollina also states.

Nor, for that matter, did anyone on Pollina’s behalf call the Democratic Party to let us know Pollina was going to declare his candidacy at the Progressive State Committee meeting last fall. For Pollina to represent that he or his campaign kept Democrats apprised “at every step in that early process,” is far from accurate. None of the specific examples Pollina provides ever took place.

Elsewhere, Pollina states: “If there is a way for the Democratic State Committee to endorse me, we’re certainly open to that, and I would of course accept their support.”

On two different occasions I have described the Democratic Party’s endorsement process to Mr. Pollina directly. I have explained to him where he could find the rules of endorsement, how it was a candidate driven process that he would have to initiate, how the process unfolds, how many votes he would need to garner, and how Bernie Sanders utilized the process to great reciprocal benefit in 2006.

Mr. Pollina cannot feign ignorance of this process as he attempts to do in his interview with you. He knows exactly what the process involves, and how it starts with the candidate.

I have always have been, and remain, willing to undertake discussions with Mr. Pollina about the best way to defeat Jim Douglas in November, and I am eager to have Democrats and Progressives work together in furtherance of that goal. Such interactions, however, must proceed on the basis of candor and accuracy.

— Ian Carleton