Crown Politics

Maine ethics regulators vote to reopen taxpayer campaign funding for 2018 races

AUGUSTA, Maine — Bypassing a stalemated Maine Legislature, ethics regulators voted Thursday to effectively ignore a drafting error in state law that has locked away about $3.2 million in taxpayer funding for gubernatorial and legislative campaigns since July.

The 3-1 vote from the Maine Ethics Commission was an authoritative move for a restrained body that doesn’t often wade into hot political debates, though it was supported by a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have fretted that their 2018 campaigns may be at risk.

Earlier this month, a judge ordered Gov. Paul LePage’s administration to release about $1 million in Clean Election money that the Republican governor tried to block in June by not issuing financial orders. That money was released last week despite bureaucratic tangles.

But that ruling alone didn’t affect the larger pool of money in the fund for the 2019 fiscal year — which began July 1 — that has been perhaps the largest issue in a legislative session that continues months beyond a normally scheduled April adjournment debate.

To read the rest of “Maine ethics regulators vote to reopen taxpayer campaign funding for 2018 races,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Michael Shepherd, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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