Maine Ethics Commission

Courtesy Maine House of Representatives

The Maine Ethics Commission Wednesday dismissed a complaint against Republican state Senate candidate Trey Stewart for using a political action committee to reimburse himself for clothes and tires. 

Stewart had been accused by a Aroostook County man of breaking Maine campaign finance laws designed to prevent legislators from using private donations to political action committees to enrich themselves.

The allegations centered on four expenditures in 2018 and 2019 by Stewart's Star City PAC, twice for new tires and twice for clothes.

Courtesy Maine House of Representatives

An Aroostook County man has filed a complaint against assistant Maine House Minority Leader Trey Stewart of Presque Isle, alleging that the Republican legislator violated campaign finance law by using a political action committee to reimburse himself for clothes and new tires.

Stop the Corridor

The state's ethics Commission Friday broadened its investigation of a dark-money group that has been working against Central Maine Power's proposed powerline through western Maine.

Fred Bever / Maine Public/file

A ballot question committee representing the Canadian energy company Hydro-Quebec could face a significant fine from state election regulators for the late disclosure of campaign activity. Meanwhile, a state lawmaker is trying to stop the company’s efforts to convince Maine voters to approve a controversial $1 billion transmission project at the ballot box in November.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public File

The agency overseeing Maine's lobbying regulations wants to update a state law that has allowed some interest groups to influence legislation by spending big without having to disclose it to the public.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

The Maine Ethics Commission voted 3-to-1 Thursday to unfreeze money for the state's public campaign finance program, which was previously hung up by a budget error that the Legislature couldn't muster enough votes to fix.

AP Photo

Two Republican state House candidates pleaded with the Maine Ethics Commission Wednesday to come up with a plan to fix a severe imbalance in the distribution of public campaign funds.

The group backing Maine's public campaign finance law has sued Gov. Paul LePage for refusing to sign financial orders so that candidates who have qualified for the program can receive campaign funds.

Maine Citizens for Clean Elections filed the lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court Thursday morning.

"We don't take an action like this lightly,” said John Brautigam, an attorney for the group. “We feel like it's time for the court to intervene.”

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

Update: Maine Citizens For Clean Elections File Suit Against LePage

The State Ethics Commission has crafted a short-term fix to sidestep a political logjam that is keeping public campaign financing from reaching candidates. But the commission, which administers these public funds under the Clean Elections Act, says lawmakers will have to address the larger problem in order to avoid possible legal challenges.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Republican Party is denying involvement with a secretive website that’s attacked progressive candidates, including one defeated in the recent Lewiston mayoral race.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

The Maine Ethics Commission voted 3-2 to fine the assistant majority leader of the Maine Senate a total of $9,000 for failing to disclose using campaign funds, in some instances to provide short-term loans for a business he owns.

The vote by the commission follows a probe into Cushing’s finances that began in November of last year. The fine is lower than the one Cushing could have been assessed. Under Maine law, the Newport Republican could have been hit with a penalty of $105,000.

Sen. Andre Cushing represents Maine's 10th district.
American Legislative Exchange Council

The assistant majority leader of the Maine Senate faces a fine of $16,500 for not disclosing using campaign funds, in some instances to provide short-term loans to a business he owns.

Marcel Oosterwijk / Flickr/Creative Commons

Next week the Maine Ethics Commission will take up a proposal designed to put some distance between lobbyists on the one hand and elected legislators and state officials on the other.

The proposal stems from a complaint against a former Democratic legislator who was hired by the Maine AFL-CIO.

Maine Public political correspondent Steve Mistler explains the controversy, and more importantly the purpose of, what are often called revolving door laws.

Q: Can you explain what a revolving door is in state government?

The Maine Senate Ethics Committee held an unprecedented hearing Thursday to review complaints that two GOP senators engaged in a double-dipping scheme to rip off taxpayers.

When it was over, Sen. Ron Collins was exonerated of any wrongdoing, while Sen. Andre Cushing awaits a future ruling. Election-year politics and heated words dominated the entire proceeding.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's ethics commission is sending a proposal designed to shed more light on who's donating to large political organizations to the Legislature.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the panel voted 4-1 Thursday to send the proposal for ratification.

More than $13 million was spent by just five political action committees on the November 2014 election in Maine. But current law allows the organizations bankrolling the committees to shield the names of donors.