Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 - Page 28

Citizens United means of campaign spending. Recusal rules are more restrictive for Vermont appointed officials than for elected officials. An Executive Order issued by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin on July 21, 2011, explicitly includes a wide range of anti-corruption provisions, including a recusal rule.14 The Executive Order prohibits an executive branch appointee from taking “any action in any particular matter in which he or she has either a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest . . . .”15 It prohibits an appointee from “[u]ndermining his or her independence or impartiality or action;” or “[t]aking official action on the basis of unfair considerations;” or “[g]iving preferential treatment to any private interest on the basis of unfair considerations.”16 The Governor’s Executive Order recognizes that “any payment, gift or favor from any private interest” can create a conflict of interest for an appointed official.17 Strangely, however, no Vermont law requires similar recognition of conflict by Vermont elected officials when they take action on a matter of interest to a business that invested a substantial amount of money to help elect the official. Businesses that invest money in electioneering may commonly expect a return on that investment through passage of particular legislation. This is a matter of “IOUs, if you will, real or perceived to be there” as described by Vermont Attorney General 28 THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL • SUMMER 2016