WESTBROOK – S. Donald Sussman wrote his first check to the Maine Democratic Party in 1997.

In 1998, state Republicans complained about Sussman’s large donation — $120,000 — to a political action committee that favors state Democratic candidates.

The complaints from Maine Republicans continue, as does Sussman’s largesse to Democratic causes.

On Thursday morning at the GOP campaign headquarters in Westbrook, vice chairman Charlie Summers stood next to a chart detailing nearly $1.7 million from Sussman that made its way into Maine political campaigns this year.

“He’s an American, he’s free to spend the money as he wants, but is it right?” asked Summers, who lost a 1st District congressional race two years ago to Rep. Chellie Pingree, Sussman’s fiancee. “One individual trying to put that kind of money into a small state like Maine, that’s more than a dollar per person. He’s trying to have an influence on an election.”

The GOP-prepared chart listed nine contributions from Sussman to various groups, including $311,000 directly to the Maine Democratic Party. Other notable contributions were $300,000 to the No Higher Taxes for Maine Fund; $389,000 to Equality Maine PAC; $109,688 to the Maine Conservation Voters Action Fund; $100,000 to the House Democratic Campaign Committee PAC and $400,000 that GOP leaders say originated with Sussman and wound up with VoteVets and Women’s Voices, Women’s Vote.

“I think it’s disingenuous, and the Republicans know it, to list all those groups as being part of the Democratic Party,” said Arden Manning, campaign manager for the Democrats. “Donald Sussman is a contributor to Democratic causes around the country. We’re honored to have contributions from him and we thank him for his support.”

Manning also pointed out a $200,000 contribution to the Maine Republican Party from Ed Bosarge, a Houston businessman with a home in Southport.

 

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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