Paul LePage’s campaign fined $3K for late finance report

Maine’s campaign ethics watchdog hit former Gov. Paul LePage’s 2022 campaign with a $3,000 fine on Wednesday for filing a campaign finance report a few hours late.

The report was due at 11:59 p.m. on May 3. It was not filed until early May 4, despite campaign staff having uploaded the information two days prior. That error still meant that the former Republican governor’s campaign missed the Maine Ethics Commission’s filing deadline.

The total raised had been released to the media on May 3, but campaign staffer Joe Turcotte told staff that he had fallen asleep due to illness while submitting the report, according to the staff memo. He did not wake up until 4 a.m. the next day to finish filing the report.

The five-member ethics commission unanimously agreed to a staff-recommended $3,000 fine. Staff cited the need to hold high-dollar candidates with experience in running for office to account but noted other candidates have gotten lower fines.

The LePage campaign asked the penalty to be waived, but Republican lobbyist Josh Tardy, representing the LePage campaign, said $500 would be more in line with previous fines.

“The staff had been in consultation with the commission prior to the filing deadline,” he said.

The penalty will likely be used as political fodder during the high-stakes campaign between Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and LePage. Both candidates were uncontested in the June primary.

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