October 23, 2012

Campaign reports list names of Maine Senate donors

Most contributors to the top three candidates are Mainers, but out-of-state checks are the biggest.

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

WASHINGTON – Republican Charlie Summers received $1,000 from former President George H.W. Bush and $2,500 from a Colorado man whose recent purchase of 1 million acres of Maine forestland made him the nation's largest private landowner.

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U.S. Senate cadidates Angus King, Charlie Summers and Cynthia Dill, left to right, participate in a debate at the at the University of Southern Maine in Portland on Thursday, September 13, 2012.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Democrat Cynthia Dill got a $2,500 check from another well-known landowner in Maine: conservationist Roxanne Quimby.

Prominent donors to independent Angus King's campaign include actress Glenn Close and a former chairman of The Nature Conservancy.

Those are just a few of the details contained in hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports filed recently with federal elections officials. The reports covering July 1 through Sept. 30 had to be postmarked by Oct. 15. Interim reports covering Oct. 1-17 are due Thursday.

Most donors to the top three candidates are Mainers, the reports show, but out-of-state donors are often writing much bigger individual checks to the candidates. The documents also show that King and Summers are receiving large donations directly from political action committees on top of the millions of dollars being spent on the race independently by out-of-state groups.

Summers, who has been polling in second place behind King for months, got the jump on his opponents by announcing Monday that his campaign collected roughly $325,000 during the first two weeks of October. He raised roughly $500,000 during the previous three months, bringing his total fundraising to more than $1 million.

Both King and Summers have received a sizable percentage of their donations from out-of-state donors.

An analysis of Summers' third-quarter campaign finance report shows that about one-quarter of the roughly 300 individual itemized donations came from outside of Maine. But with an average donation of more than $1,200, those out-of-state donors accounted for almost 40 percent of the money contributed in this category.

Although the reports had to be postmarked by Oct. 15, Summers' report was still not posted online on the Federal Election Commission website as of Monday evening and could only be viewed in person at the Senate Office of Public Records in Washington.

Prominent donors to Summers include the first President Bush ($1,000), Maine first lady Ann LePage ($500), billionaire Texas energy executive Trevor Rees-Jones and his wife Jan ($2,500 each) as well as John and Leslie Malone of Colorado ($2,500 each). A cable television pioneer, John Malone is the nation's largest private landowner and bought roughly 1 million acres in Maine last year, giving him 2.2 million acres in all.

Summers received nearly $95,000 from political action committees ranging from the Alliance Coal PAC ($5,000) to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's Bluegrass Committee PAC ($10,000). He also received nearly $61,000 in transferred funds from the Founders Committee, a branch of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

King reported raising $1.1 million during the last three-month period, giving him more than $2 million this year. A detailed breakdown of King's nearly 900-page filing was not completed Monday, but King's campaign has said that out-of-state donors accounted for about $975,000 -- or 47 percent -- of the roughly $2 million raised by the independent candidate so far.

More than $190,000 of King's fundraising from the third quarter came from political action committees representing such groups as surgeons, ophthalmologists, airline pilots, carpenters and insurance companies, according to the reports.

King's well-connected donors include President Bill Clinton's former deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes ($500), Democratic lobbyist Anthony Podesta ($1,000) and Roger Milliken, a Maine resident and former board chairman of The Nature Conservancy ($2,500).

The interim campaign finance report due this Thursday will also include donations received at a fundraiser hosted earlier this month by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has also contributed $500,000 to Americans Elect, a nonprofit political group supporting King.

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