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Gideon Admits To Campaign Finance Violation

Robert F Bukaty
AP Photo

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon has admitted to a campaign finance violation, and some believe it could hurt her campaign.

Gideon, Maine's current House Speaker, admits her state leadership PAC reimbursed her for political contributions that she made to a congressional candidate, which is a violation of federal law.

University of Maine at Farmington political science professor Jim Melcher says the mistake could hurt her with some Democratic primary voters.

“In Democratic primaries, you know, a lot of Democrats really care about campaign finance issues,” Melcher says.

In a written statement, Gideon’s campaign manager, Amy Mesner, blamed the error on bad advice received by the campaign, but she did not elaborate about where it came from. Both she and Gideon have declined requests for interviews.

Mesner says Gideon wrote a personal check to the U.S. Treasury to offset the improper contributions. Still, University of Southern Maine political science professor Ron Schmidt says that if Gideon does win the Democratic nomination, Republicans will likely use the violation against her in the general election campaign.

“I could really see the GOP trying to wrap this up with the story of the fund created to defeat Collins and try to say the Democrats are hiding something, and it’s got to do with a lots of money coming in from out of state. I could see that story emerging,” Schmidt says.