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Maine Ethics Commission Broadens Investigation Into 'Stop The Corridor' Group

Stop the Corridor

The state's ethics Commission Friday broadened its investigation of a dark-money group that has been working against Central Maine Power's proposed powerline through western Maine.

The panel directed the group, called Stop The Corridor (STC), to provide Commission staff with unredacted documentation of who its funders are, why they are involved, and what the group spends the money on.

Lawyers for STC argued against releasing the information, saying that the Commission should rely on their own assertions about specifics of the funding. Commissioner Richard Nass pushed back.

"That's smoke and mirrors..."You're asking us to take your word on purpose and spending and receipts without the complete record and we can't do that, nor are we going to release it to the public unless there's a violation."

Stop the Corridor first made waves in 2018 with an advertising campaign that condemned Gov. Janet Mills for supporting the CMP project. The Commission says it has no jurisdiction over how that general public relations effort was funded.

But more recently the group made $80,000 worth of in-kind contributions to a petition drive asking that voters weigh in the project. The Commission wants to know whether STC now should be subject to campaign finance transparency rules that usually apply to political action and ballot question committees.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.