Wednesday April 11, 2012 | 03:55 PM

Former Gov. Angus King’s campaign staff has asked the Federal Election Commission if Maine’s largest law firm and its employees can provide free election-related legal advice. 

King’s campaign treasurer, J. Maurice Bisson, wrote a letter to the FEC saying he believes Pierce Atwood can provide pro bono legal services to the campaign, and asking for an advisory opinion from the agency. 

The issue is that Pierce Atwood also advises at least one federal agency as a private contractor, and federal contractors are not allowed to contribute to congressional campaigns. In his letter, Bisson said he believes there is an exception when the legal advice is limited to complying with federal election law. 

Bisson also is asking whether Pierce Atwood’s partners and employees can provide free legal advice as campaign volunteers. 

The Hill posted a story about King’s request and a link to Bisson’s  letter. 

King has yet to release official fundraising numbers for the period ending March 31, although an aide said this week that the independent raised about $135,000 by the end of the month. 

Pierce Atwood is a large, politically connected firm. One former Pierce Atwood lobbyist, Patricia Aho, is commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. LePage. A partner in the firm, William Kayatta Jr., was nominated by President Obama to be a federal appeals court judge and is awaiting confirmation by the Senate.


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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
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Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
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Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
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Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or
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