September 28, 2022 Commission Meeting

1. Ratification of the Minutes of the July 27, 2022 Meeting

2. Request for Independent Expenditure Determination – Bruce Poliquin for Congress

     First Television Advertisement

     Radio Advertisement

     Additional Materials - Second Television Advertisement

     Second Television Advertisement

The congressional campaign committee of Bruce Poliquin has requested a determination by the Commission that the costs of a television and radio advertisement are not independent expenditures.  Both ads contain references to Paul LePage who is running for a third term as Governor, but do not refer to him as a candidate or expressly advocate for his election. The Poliquin Committee explains that its intention is to promote Mr. Poliquin, not any other candidate. Because these ads are being broadcast after Labor Day and refer to Mr. LePage, the Poliquin Committee is seeking a determination from the Commission that the advertising costs are not independent expenditures under Maine Election Law.

3. Request for Independent Expenditure Determination – Maine First Project

On September 19, 2022, the Maine First Project PAC disseminated a mailer to South Portland residents discussing immigration concerns and requesting donations. The mailer mentions Governor Janet Mills, who is running for reelection. Because the mailings were sent after Labor Day and refer to Governor Mills, the PAC is seeking a determination from the Commission that the mailing costs are not independent expenditures under Maine Election Law.

4. Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty – John V. Chambers (David C. Burns, Treasurer)

John V. Chambers is a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives. He was required to file the 42-Day Post-Primary Report on July 26, 2022. His treasurer, David Burns, filed the report one day late.  The preliminary penalty for the late report is $34.90. Mr. Burns is requesting a waiver of the penalty, because he made a good-faith attempt at filing the report and believed he had been successful.

Staff recommendation: the Commission staff does not recommend waiving the $34.90 penalty.

5. Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty – Benjamin J. Meiklejohn

Benjamin Meiklejohn was a candidate in the special election for Senate district 7. He was required to file the 42-Day Post-Election Report on July 26, 2022. He filed the report one day late. The preliminary penalty for the late report is $18.03. Mr. Meiklejohn is requesting a waiver of the penalty because he tried to file the report using his cell phone near the deadline but encountered technical difficulties.

Staff recommendation: the Commission staff does not recommend waiving the $18.03 penalty.

6. Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty – Waldo County Democratic Committee

The Waldo County Democratic Committee was required to file the 2022 July Semiannual Report, due July 15, 2022. The committee filed the report three days late. The preliminary penalty for the late report is $181.21. Pamela Chase, the treasurer of the committee, is requesting a waiver of the penalty because she believed she had filed the report on time.

Staff recommendation: the Commission staff does not recommend waiving the $181.21 penalty.

7. Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty – Lincoln County Republican Committee

The Lincoln County Republican Committee was required to file the 2022 July Semiannual Report, due July 15, 2022. The committee filed the report four days late. The preliminary penalty for the late report is $500.00. Ronald Cohen, the treasurer of the committee, is requesting a waiver of the penalty because the entire leadership of the committee had recently resigned and he did not have access to the committee’s bank records. The July 2022 report is the first campaign finance report he has filed.

Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends reducing the penalty to $100.00

8. Investigation of Software Provided by the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Commission will continue its consideration of software that the American Legislative Exchange Council has provided to its members.

9. Failure to File Statements of Sources of Income by Legislative Candidates

Candidates for the Legislature who not currently serving are required to file a Statement of Sources of Income (SOSOI) by August 15th of the election year. The SOSOI discloses certain elements of the candidate’s personal finances and those of their immediate family members. Timothy Keenan and Nancy Piche are candidates for the Maine House of Representatives in the November 2022 general election. Daniel Merrill was a candidate for the same office until he withdrew from the ballot on August 30, 2022. The three candidates were required to file the SOSOI by August 15, 2021. Unfiled and late SOSOI reports are subject to a finding of a civil violation for which a fine of not more than $100 may be adjudged.

Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends a finding of violation and/or referral to the Office of the Attorney General for civil action.

Other Business