March 8, 2021 Commission Meeting

Agenda (132.5 KB)
Minutes (159.35 KB)

Note:  Due to COVID-19 precautions, the Commission’s office is not open to the public.  The meeting was conducted through Zoom video conferencing and streamed to YouTube for the public to access.  

1.      Complaint – Disclosure Statements Missing from Roadside Signs in Special Election

The Commission will consider a complaint that signs promoting a candidate in a March 9, 2021 special election lacked a required statement of who made or financed the expenditure for the signs.

Motion:  To find a violation of 21-A MRS § 1014(1) in that the four electronic signs did not have the required statement of who authorized the message itself.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Motion withdrawn by Mr. Lee

Motion:  To find that these four signs violated 21-A MRS § 1014(1) in that they did not state they were authorized by the candidate and they did not state who made or financed the expenditure for the communication.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Marble
Vote:  4-1 (Mr. Schneider opposed)

Motion:  In light of the fact that the person who financed the communication corrected the violation immediately, not just within 10 days, but immediately upon receiving notification of the violation, that the Commission assess no civil penalty.
Made by:  Mr. Hastings
Seconded by:  Mr. Lee
Vote:  4-1 (Ms. Lowry opposed)

2. Maine First Project – Request to Rebut Independent Expenditure Presumption 

On March 1, 2021, Maine First Project, a non-profit organization led by Rep. Larry Lockman, sent a mailer discussing education policy that, among other things, included references to candidates for the Senate District 14 Election.  Because the candidates are specifically mentioned in a paid communication disseminated in the last 35-days before the special election, the communications are presumed to be independent expenditures.  Maine First Project has filed a statement to rebut the presumption stating that the communications were not intended to influence the candidates’ election.  Staff Recommendation:  The staff recommended that Maine First Project had rebutted the presumption.

Motion:  To find that the communication that was disseminated by Maine First Project was not with the intent to influence the election of a candidate for public office.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Hastings
Vote:  5-0

Other Business:  None

Executive Session:  None