Governmental Ethics

Portland primary election challenges lead to proposed changes in campaign law

The Maine Ethics Commission has fined losing Senate candidate Rep. Diane Russell $500 for failing to disclose her contribution to her Senate campaign of a valuable email list, closing the books on a series of ethics complaints generated by the recent Portland Democratic Senate primary. But the complaints — two against Russell and one against primary winner Rep. Ben Chipman — may end up having a broader effect on Maine campaign-finance law and how elections are run.

Complaint alleges Rep. Russell’s PAC  was “money mill” for her

Complaint alleges Rep. Russell’s PAC was “money mill” for her

A Portland resident has filed a complaint with the state ethics commission alleging that the PAC controlled by Diane Russell, a candidate for the state senate and a current member of the House, may have made fraudulent campaign finance filings. “If people know the right questions to ask then the voters can be more informed,” said Michael Hiltz, who filed the ethics complaint against the PAC controlled by Russell.

From a gazillion dollars to bupkis — our annual index

From a gazillion dollars to bupkis — our annual index

Once a year, we take our inspiration from the clever folks at Harper’s Magazine, and produce, as they do, an index of “ironic statistics arranged for thoughtful effect.”

Our index, written by Editor-in-Chief John Christie, is drawn from the stories we published in the past year.

Maine gets F grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation

Maine gets F grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation

The year’s frenetic events in Maine’s statehouse mark a turn towards increasingly incendiary, winner-take-all politics. But the histrionics also underscore a more insidious problem: Maine’s weak accountability and transparency laws aren’t keeping up with the new pace of politics here, and lawmakers are doing little to change course.

This dynamic has earned Maine an F and a numerical score of 59, placing it tied for 42nd among the states in the 2015 State Integrity Investigation, an assessment of state government accountability and transparency conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity.

LePage ordered an approved $100K payment to charter school stopped when Eves named head of school

LePage ordered an approved $100K payment to charter school stopped when Eves named head of school

Gov. Paul LePage reversed a routine and state-approved payment to a Fairfield non-profit that operates a charter school the day it was announced that Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves was named president of the organization, according to a source inside state government.

A confidential source in the state Department of Education (DOE) said that, the day Eves’ appointment became public, a top official of the state DOE was called to the governor’s office “for an impromptu meeting.”