Any organization that meets the legal definition of a political action committee (PAC) must register with the Ethics Commission. The definition includes organization seeking to influence municipal candidate and ballot question elections in cities and towns with a population of 15,000 or more and the cities and towns choosing to implement Maine’s PAC registration and reporting laws . For PACs influencing municipal elections only, registrations should be filed with the municipal clerk.
The PAC must submit a registration form and initial campaign finance report to the Ethics Commission or Municipal Clerk within seven (7) days of reaching the applicable threshold. The failure to register may result in a fine of no more than $2,500. In the registration form, the PAC must:
- name a treasurer and a principal officer. They cannot be the same person.
- provide the names of the PAC's primary decision-makers and fundraisers and the names of any Legislators or candidates who have a significant role in fundraising or decision-making for the PAC.
- indicate the specific candidates or categories of candidates or the ballot question the PAC supports or opposes.
- if the PAC is formed by one or more for-profit or non-profit corporations or other organizations, state the names and addresses of those corporations and organizations.
- include the name on the campaign bank account and the name and address of the financial institution where the account is established.
The treasurer, principal officer and decision-makers must submit a signed acknowledgement of responsibilities. All replacement officers must also sign the acknowledgement within 10 days of joining the PAC.
PACs are required to maintain a separate bank account for campaign activity. All contributions must be deposited into the account and all campaign payments must be made through the account. This requirement applies to all PACs. Account records must be kept for 4 years.
PACs are required to re-register with the Ethics Commission or municipal clerk between January 1 st and March 1 st of each year in which a general election is held.
There is no fee to register a PAC in Maine.