Another ethics complaint alleging improper campaign finance practices has been filed against Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon.
The complaint, which was sent to Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, states Gideon’s Leadership PAC failed to disclose spending on at least half a dozen Facebook ad campaigns that ran right before the 2018 election.
“In addition to the undisclosed campaign spending, the Facebook ads appear to have promoted Sara Gideon, amounting to an in-kind contribution to her 2018 campaign, far exceeding the $400 per election contribution limit,” according to a news release from Maine GOP Chair Dr. Demi Kouzounas, who filed the complaint with the Ethics Commission.
In October, the Ethics Commission voted 3-0 to impose a $500 fine against a political action committee once run by Gideon.
Former state Sen. Ed Youngblood, an advocate for Maine’s Clean Elections Law, had brought that complaint in August, 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.
In that case, Gideon, who hopes to unseat U.S. Sen. Susan Collins this year, had said that the PAC contributions made in her name were an error that occurred based on bad advice she received at the time.
“Sara Gideon continues her pattern of unethical behavior,” Kouzounas said in Tuesday’s release. “First, the Maine Ethics Commission found Gideon broke the law by illegally using her corporate-funded Leadership PAC to reimburse herself for campaign contributions. Today, Mainers learn she tried to hide thousands of dollars worth of campaign ads while also illegally boosting her own political ambitions.”
The complaint urges the commission to pursue an investigation.
“Mainers know Gideon has long relied on corporate money, shady donors, and now illegally hiding campaign spending to further her political ambitions and give Maine’s voice away to Washington special interests,” Kouzounas said.