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'Right to repair' PAC hit with reduced fine for campaign finance rule violation

In this July 14, 2010 photo, Andre Monteiro, of Whitman, Mass., the shop foreman at Wilder Brothers American Car Care Center, shines a light into the engine compartment of a car in a repair bay at the garage, in Scituate, Mass. Mom-and-pop repair shops like Wilder's are currently pushing the state Legislature to pass landmark legislation that repair shops say would give them the computer codes they need to repair cars just like the big auto dealerships.
Steven Senne
/
AP file
In this July 14, 2010 photo, Andre Monteiro, of Whitman, Mass., the shop foreman at Wilder Brothers American Car Care Center, shines a light into the engine compartment of a car in a repair bay at the garage, in Scituate, Mass.

Maine's campaign finance watchdog approved a significantly reduced fine on Wednesday against the political committee that convinced Maine voters to approve Question 4 on the November ballot.

The Maine Ethics Commission voted unanimously to approve a $35,000 penalty against the Automotive Right to Repair Committee because it was late complying with a transparency law for major funders.

The fine is $205,000 less than what it could've been, but the five-member commission reasoned that the late disclosures by the campaign were still filed before the November election and that they weren't intended to skirt the transparency law.

Maine law requires ballot question committees to notify contributors who give more than $100,000 that they have to file a report with the Ethics Commission.

The requirement is designed to give the public more information about who is financing ballot campaigns and where the money is coming from within those organizations.

Major donors to the Right to Repair committee include franchised auto repair and parts companies including AutoZone, NAPA and Dorman Products.

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