Hydro-Quebec Ballot Question Committee Pays $35k Ethics Fine

Jan 30, 2020

A ballot question committee representing the Canadian energy company Hydro-Quebec has paid a nearly $35,000 fine for the late disclosure of campaign activity in Maine.

Hydro-Quebec's ballot question committee was formed last fall in an effort to save a $1 billion transmission project through western Maine.

The future of the project could be determined by Maine voters in November, and Hydro-Quebec, which would supply the power, has signaled that it will be involved in the campaign. But its ballot committee ran afoul of the Maine Ethics Commission for not disclosing $100,000 in campaign activity until several weeks after it was required to.

Hydro-Quebec had the option of seeking a waiver, but decided to pay the fine instead.

The company is facing additional scrutiny because its sole shareholder is the government of Quebec, raising questions about foreign influence in a Maine election. 

There is no state law prohibiting such activity, but independent state Rep. Kent Ackley is attempting to submit a bill that would close the loophole.

Originally published Jan. 29, 2019 at 3:19 p.m. ET.