The executive director of the Maine Ethics Commission has advised the panel that he does not see sufficient grounds to investigate claims that Senate President Troy Jackson violated campaign finance laws in connection with his purchase of a house in Augusta.

Maine Senate President Troy Jackson in January in Augusta. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Members could still vote to investigate Jackson, a Democrat from Allagash, at next week’s meeting, but they would be doing so against the recommendation of Director Jonathan Wayne, who laid out his reasoning in a 110-page memo released Wednesday.

The request for an investigation was made last month by Rep. John Andrews, R-Paris, who cited allegations made by the Maine Wire, a conservative website affiliated with the Maine Policy Institute, a right-leaning think tank. The Wire posted an article in late August about Jackson’s purchase of a single-family home in Augusta in 2019 while representing a district in Aroostook County, questioning whether he violated the Legislature’s residency rules or falsely pledged to make the home his primary residence.

Jackson has maintained that he did nothing wrong and that he purchased the house in Augusta as a temporary place to stay while he served in the Legislature. His residence in Allagash is more than 300 miles from the capitol.

Wayne, in his memo, said that the Office of the Maine Attorney General provides guidance to legislators “that they may live temporarily outside their district, provided that they have sufficient ties to the district and intend to return there.”

“If the statements in Sen. Jackson’s preliminary response are correct, he has a convincing case to make that he remained a resident of Senate District 1, even if he occupied the Augusta property during the majority of September 2019 – September 2020,” Wayne’s memo said.


The bipartisan ethics commission consists of five members appointed to three-year terms by the governor and legislative leaders.

Andrews also sent a letter last month to the attorney general’s office demanding an investigation. A spokesperson said it is being reviewed.

According to records on file at the Kennebec County Registry of Deeds, Jackson and his partner purchased a single-family home in Augusta in September 2019 for $216,015. He sold the home in December 2021 for $323,000.

The mortgage agreement contains a clause that Jackson would occupy the home within 60 days of closing and use it as a “principal residence” for at least a year, unless that requirement was waived in writing by the lender or “extenuating circumstance outside (the borrower’s) control” prevented it.

It’s a standard disclosure on loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, which are easier to qualify for in terms of credit and offer lower closing costs and lower down payments for the borrower.

Jackson, who now rents an apartment in Augusta, said his mortgage broker told him he qualified for the FHA loan even though Allagash has always been his permanent residence, because he spent the majority of the year in Augusta. He said he relied on the broker’s interpretation and didn’t read the forms.

Jackson did not take other steps that would have indicated he was changing his permanent residency. He didn’t register to vote in Augusta or register his vehicle. He said he planned to use the house the same way he might use a hotel or apartment, an arrangement that is common among lawmakers who live a considerable distance from Augusta.

Still, Republicans said last month that Jackson’s purchase and filings should be scrutinized.

Jackson, meanwhile, accused Republicans of targeting him for political reasons as he is often mentioned as a potential candidate for governor.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.