The irony of one of Vermont’s most influential and well-funded lobbying organizations speaking out against lobbyists and political funding may be lost on some. For others, it’s impossible to miss.
Last week in Burlington, Vermont Public Interest Research Group, or VPIRG, kicked off its summer canvassing campaign to urge Vermonters to oppose undue influence and money in politics.
The group’s campaign, “Taking on Big Money in Politics,” has enlisted about 55 college students to knock on the doors of 80,000 Vermonters. It’s calling for a ban on donations by corporations and wealthy individuals.
“VPIRG is supporting a plan that will rein-in the power of lobbyists, that will ban corporate contributions, that will demand more transparency from Super PACs, and that will amplify the voices of real citizens and real people in this state,” Paul Burns, executive director of VPIRG, said at a recent news conference.
Despite Burns’ appearance alongside students and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s, VPIRG’s dominance as Vermont’s largest consumer and environmental advocacy organization is hardly the work of college kids.