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Milne Calls Leahy Out For Daughter's Role As Hollywood Lobbyist

An article in VTDigger this week revealed that Sen. Patrick Leahy’s daughter is a lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America, and Leahy’s GOP challenger, Scott Milne, is seizing on the news as evidence of his opponent’s ties to corporate interests.

Milne held a press conference Tuesday to highlight revelations that Alicia Leahy Jackson serves as director of congressional programs and outreach for the MPAA. Hollywood studios have given generously to Leahy’s reelection campaign this cycle. And an article by VTDigger’s Jasper Craven says the seven-term incumbent was a co-sponsor of legislation for which his daughter was paid to lobby.

“Occurrences like these are deeply destructive to our democracy, and it is why so few Americans have faith in our government,” Milne said Tuesday.

Federal statute prohibits direct lobbying of U.S. senators by their children, and Leahy says his daughter never sought to influence his views on issues related to her employment.

“She’s an absolute straight arrow on anything to do with ethics,” Patrick Leahy told VTDigger. “I think she would quit before she would ever seek to influence me.”

Milne said Tuesday that he doesn’t think Vermonters are comfortable with the arrangement.

“Sen. Leahy insists there is nothing to see here, but Vermonters cannot help but be taken aback by the tangled web of impropriety that in Leahy’s world passes for business as usual,” Milne said.

Milne said Tuesday that if elected, he’ll introduce legislation that would ban immediate family members of U.S. senators from doing any lobbying in Congress.

Jay Tilton, a Leahy campaign spokesman, called Milne’s press conference “the latest stunt by a candidate who thinks his only path to the United States Senate is by attacking the integrity of Sen. Leahy and his family.”

Milne has repeatedly criticized Leahy for the special-interest contributions that have helped fund his reelection efforts. Tilton says it’s a line of attack designed to distract from the issues.

“Vermonters might look more favorably on Mr. Milne if he called on his fellow Republicans to give Judge [Merrick] Garland a vote or denounce the insistence of the Republicans in Congress to tie Zika funding to restrictions on Planned Parenthood,” Tilton said in an email.

The Vermont Statehouse is often called the people’s house. I am your eyes and ears there. I keep a close eye on how legislation could affect your life; I also regularly speak to the people who write that legislation.
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