Maine Ethics Panel To Investigate Whether Group Opposing CMP Transmission Line Must Reveal Donors
The Maine Ethics Commission voted 2-1 Tuesday to investigate whether a group opposing a controversial transmission line through western Maine qualifies as a political action committee and should be required to reveal its donors.
The group, Stop the Corridor, is a limited liability company that has been actively opposing the transmission project since August of 2018 and has sought to influence public opinion in the towns that the project will pass through, as well as the permitting process for the 145-mile, $1 billion transmission line.
More recently, it has made in-kind donations to a grassroots organization that is trying to scuttle the project via a ballot referendum this November.
Stop the Corridor has repeatedly declined to disclose its donors and has so far not been legally required to. But a political action committee representing Central Maine Power, which is building the transmission line, filed a complaint with the commission asserting that Stop the Corridor should now reveal its donors because it’s providing financial support to the ballot campaign.
The vote by the Ethics Commission will allow commission staff to request documents to determine whether Stop the Corridor’s involvement triggers the donor disclosure requirements for political action committees.
Attorneys for Stop the Corridor said that its purpose has not changed and that it should not be required to reveal its funders.
Clean Energy Matters, the PAC operated by Central Maine Power, has said repeatedly that anti-corridor groups have been assisted by fossil-fuel generators who stand to lose millions of dollars if the transmission project is built.
Clean Energy Matters is also contesting whether corridor opponents have legally qualified for the ballot, and are likely to take the issue to court.