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Opponent Of CMP Transmission Line Faces Campaign Finance Violation

Robert F. Bukaty
AP Photo

A potential referendum over Central Maine Power's power line proposal for western Maine is generating more campaign finance violations, this time from opponents of the project.

The political action committee, Mainers for Local Power, is facing a nearly $25,000 fine by the Maine Ethics Commission.

Under a new provision in Maine law, organizations that give more than $100,000 to a PAC or ballot committee must tell the Ethics Commission who they are. And it's the responsibility of the PAC or ballot committee to tell the contributor that it needs to provide that identifying information.

In this case, the Local Maine Power PAC failed to tell Calpine Corporation that it needed to file a major contributor report with the ethics commission. Calpine, which has given more than $100,000 to the PAC so far, owns a natural gas electricity plant in Westbrook and opposes the CMP transmission project. Local Maine Power could seek a waiver, but has not yet indicated if it will.

The penalty, if assessed by the Commission, would be the second so far in a referendum that could determine the future of the $1 billion transmission project. Hydro-Quebec, which would provide the electricity for the line, was fined $35,000 earlier this monthfor the tardy disclosure of campaign activity by its ballot question committee. And another group opposing the project, Stop the Corridor, is facing a complaint aimed at revealing the identities of its major contributors. 

* This post was updated at 6:26 a.m. to correct the name of an anti-corridor PAC.

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