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Maine Citizens For Clean Elections File Suit Against LePage

The group backing Maine's public campaign finance law has sued Gov. Paul LePage for refusing to sign financial orders so that candidates who have qualified for the program can receive campaign funds.

Maine Citizens for Clean Elections filed the lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court Thursday morning.

"We don't take an action like this lightly,” said John Brautigam, an attorney for the group. “We feel like it's time for the court to intervene.”

The Maine Ethics Commission met yesterday to discuss LePage's refusal to sign the financial orders, as well as House Republicans' refusal to fix a typo in last year's budget that's preventing $1.4 million from flowing to about 80 candidates.

LePage has long opposed theclean elections program, as have many of the House Republicans that are backing the effort to prevent money already budgeted for the program from being released to the Maine Ethics Commission.

The commission administers the program. It's board voted unanimously to distribute about one-third of the campaign funds that candidates have qualified for.

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.