AUGUSTA –– A political action committee aided by Gov. Paul LePage’s fundraising has donated another $110,000 to the Maine Republican Party, according to state campaign finance records.

Reports filed with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices show that LePage’s ICE PAC has raised about $329,000, with much of that money coming from the state’s business community. LePage confirmed his role with the PAC in October, when he told reporters at a State House news conference that it was formed to help Republican candidates win seats in the Legislature – although he declined to say which candidates the PAC would help.

“That’s up to you to find out and me to know. I’m not going to tell you that. If I tell you, it’s no secret,” LePage told reporters at the time.

So far, the largest portion of the PAC’s contributions have gone to the Republican Party, with another $58,000 donated earlier this month. The PAC also contributed $21,000 to the party to help cover payroll costs.

The PAC was formed in July by Holly Lusk, who was once LePage’s senior adviser on health policy, and Mike Hersey, a former director of business development and innovation for the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. Hersey has said that ICE stands for Increasing Citizen Engagement.

Also Monday, the Maine Republican Party reported that it had spent $3,628 on the Maine Senate District 10 race, which features incumbent Republican Andre Cushing and independent challenger Dennis Marble. According to its report of an independent expenditure, the party spent $2,721 on direct mail materials in support of Cushing and another $907 in mailers opposing Marble.

Cushing, the Senate’s assistant majority leader, is currently the subject of a Maine ethics commission investigation into his use of funds from Respect Maine, a political action committee he operates. Cushing has also been named a defendant in a lawsuit filed by his sister, who is claiming he misappropriated more than $1 million from family businesses he is involved with.

Last week, a pair of Cushing’s Democratic colleagues also charged he had “double-dipped” on his state expense report by submitting requests for taxpayer reimbursement of $1,700 in travel costs that had already been charged to the Respect Maine PAC. Cushing used the taxpayer funds to repay the PAC.

Cushing has said his sister’s claims are unfounded and that the PAC expense reporting was a bookkeeping error that will be corrected.

The ICE PAC’s filing Monday also showed it had paid a company operated by Brent Littlefield, a top LePage political consultant, about $7,800 to organize and make get-out-the-vote calls on behalf of Republican candidates in Maine.

Until Election Day, PACs and party committees must report independent expenditures or contributions to candidates or other PACs within 24 hours.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 791-6330 or at:

[email protected]

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