AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — An ethics complaint accuses Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon of "blatantly, deliberately, and repeatedly" violating campaign finance laws by making political contributions and then receiving reimbursements from her leadership political action committee.
Former Republican state Sen. Ed Youngblood, of Brewer, filed state and federal complaints on Thursday. He said the allegations "demonstrate Gideon's blatant disregard for the law and for the 'high moral and ethical standards' required by the Legislature's code of ethics.'"
Gideon, a Democrat, is seeking her party's nomination to run against Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, and raised $1 million in 10 days.
Her campaign said the reimbursements were a mistake and blamed them on "incorrect guidance." Her spokeswoman said in a statement that the errors were immediately addressed and "it's unfortunate that people are trying to misrepresent the facts and turn this into a partisan political attack."
Youngblood told the Bangor Daily News that it's possible that Gideon was misled by advisers but said "the fact remains that she broke the law."
Following news of Gideon's reimbursements, the American Democracy Legal Fund urged the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate several campaign expenses that were reimbursed to members of Collins' official staff.