Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Remember the Republican State Leadership Committee, the Virginia-based group that dumped $400,000 on five state senate races in 2010? Well, it's back.
The quarterly PAC reports filed last night showed that the RSLC has funneled $220,000 into the Maine Senate Republican Majority PAC, bringing the latter's total haul to over $367,000.
The Senate Republican Majority PAC made news this week for its $72,000 television ad buy attacking Democratic senate candidate Geoffrey Gratwick.
The Maine Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against the PAC, alleging that it illegally coordinated with Republican Sen. Nichi Farnham, R-Bangor. Farnham, a clean elections candidate, is listed as the principle fundraising and spending agent for the PAC.
The RSLC is no stranger to ethics complaints. It was fined $41,000 in 2010 for not immediately reporting its 2010 ad drop, thereby preventing the Democratic candidates from receiving matching funds in the Clean Elections Act.
Who exactly is bankrolling the RSLC's expenditure in Maine, isn't entirely clear. However, its federal filings show its largest contributors are Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield ($2,351,322), Reynolds American ($705,000), Devon Energy ($600,000), Altria Group ($489,620), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($475,399), the American Justice Partnership ($440,000), Wal-Mart Stores ($287,119) and the Republican Governors Association ($275,000).
The American Justice Partnership, by the way, is the same group that bankrolled the PAC attempting to uphold the Legislature's 2011 repeal of Maine's same-day voter registration law. AJP gave $250,000 to that effort, which was 80 percent of the PAC's total donations.
Voters ultimately reinstated the same-day voter registration law.
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.