October 14, 2010

Businesses, unions pouring money into gubernatorial race

Even the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is taking a financial interest.

By Rebekah Metzler rmetzler@mainetoday.com
MaineToday Media State House Writer

AUGUSTA - Hundreds of thousands of dollars that are being spent on Maine's gubernatorial race are coming from unions and big businesses from inside and out of the state, according to reports filed recently with the state ethics commission.

Groups like the Maine Education Association, the Service Employees International Union and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce have donated to Maine political action committees that support or oppose the leading gubernatorial candidates, Republican Paul LePage and Democrat Libby Mitchell.

A PAC called Maine Citizens for Public Education, which has spent more than $200,000 to support Mitchell's campaign, received about $190,000 from the Maine Education Association, according to a campaign finance report filed late Tuesday.

It received a $50,000 donation from S. Donald Sussman, a wealthy hedge fund manager who has given to many causes supported by the Maine Democratic Party. Sussman, the fiance of 1st District U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, also recently gave $300,000 directly to the party's PAC.

Another pro-Mitchell group, Jobs, Justice and the Environment PAC, received $40,000 from the federal Service Employees International Union political action committee, called SEIU COPE.

The group, which has spent about $20,000 in support of Mitchell, also received about $8,000 in in-kind donations from the Maine State Employees Association, SEIU 1989, the Maine People's Alliance, Equality Maine and the Maine Education Association, for donated staff time.

A campaign finance report filed by the Republican Governors Association, or RGA, PAC shows large donations from big, out-of-state businesses and organizations. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce donated $225,000 and Maximus Inc., a Virginia-based government services company that is the leading administrator of Medicaid services, gave $50,000 to the RGA Maine 2010 PAC.

Other companies giving $25,000 to the Maine-based RGA group include Asher's of Souderton, Pa.; Castellin Co. of Cincinnati; Property Casualty Insurers Association of America of Des Plaines, Ill.; ResCare Inc. of Louisville, Ky.; Shamrock Foods Company of Phoenix; and Sellers Dorsey & Associates LLC of Philadelphia.

The Republican Governors Association PAC has spent about $400,000 in support of LePage, according to reports filed so far.

The Democratic Governors Association has spent about $493,000 in support of Mitchell.


MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at: rmetzler@mainetoday.com


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