As Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, seeks to address allegations that she violated campaign finance laws, a former Republican legislator has filed state and federal ethics complaints against her.
Former state Sen. Ed Youngblood filed the complaints claiming that Gideon’s use of a partially corporate-funded committee to repay herself for political contributions broke campaign finance laws barring political donations in someone else’s name.
The allegations stem from 2015, when Gideon gave $1,000 to a Democratic congressional candidate. A few weeks later, in violation of federal election law, Gideon’s state political action committee (PAC) paid her $1,000, and in 2016 the PAC reimbursed her $1,750 for other political contributions.
In a written statement this month, Gideon’s campaign manager sought to assure supporters that improper advice given to the campaign led to the error.
Gideon has since written a personal check for $3,250 to the U.S. Treasury to counteract the contributions.
The PAC that had reimbursed Gideon in 2015 and 2016 was dissolved in June, according to The Associated Press.
A former member of the Maine Ethics Commission, Youngblood has said he was compelled to act after news of the improper contributions broke in early August, in a report by The Washington Free Beacon.
In addition to filing complaints with the Maine Ethics Commission and the Federal Election Commission, Youngblood sent copies to the Bangor Daily News, stating he wanted to make them a matter of public record.
Gideon’s campaign fired back, calling Youngblood’s filings part of a partisan political attack against a candidate aiming to defeat Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.
Gideon, who announced her candidacy in June and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the first few weeks of campaigning, has been viewed as a frontrunner on the Democratic side in the U.S. Senate race.