April 28, 2010

Richardson probe goes to AG

The ethics commission has referred the findings of its investigation into possible Clean Election fraud by the John Richardson gubernatorial campaign to the Office of the Maine Attorney General “for possible investigation.”

The announcement was made in an e-mail to reporters by Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices Executive Director Jonathan Wayne late Tuesday — one day after  Richardson withdrew from the race in response to a finding that his campaign workers didn’t follow the rules for public campaign financing when they gathered contributions.

Richardson, 52, was one of five candidates in the June 8 Democratic primary before dropping out Monday.

At a news conference announcing his departure, Richardson told reporters that two of his approximately 200 volunteers told him they may have made mistakes in documenting collection of the $5 contributions necessary to qualify for public funds. He said he immediately called the ethics commission to “self-report” the problems.

“Every one of our circulators, every one of our volunteers, were given specific instructions either by me or senior staff as to how to collect contributions,” Richardson said, but some may have “cut corners” on the documentation, he acknowledged.

He said that “in some cases, there may have been honest, stupid mistakes. ... In other cases, there may not have been.”

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