In a letter dated Monday (see here), the Maine Ethics Commission alerted Gov. Paul LePage that his re-election campaign would be fined $5,000 for failing to file a campaign finance report on time.
The report in question is known as a “24-hour-report.” Any time a candidate receives a single contribution of more than $1,000, they must file a report with the state within 24 hours.
The contributions in question — the maximum $3,000 from a supporter in Cape Elizabeth — was received on June 10, but wasn’t reported to the state until July 21. The $5,000 fine is the maximum amount allowed by statute.
“As our campaign finance team was going through the [42-day post-primary] report, filing it, they realized there was an error there,” said LePage’s campaign spokesman, Alex Willette. He said the campaign would seek to have the fine waived at an upcoming Commission meeting.
Penalties for late campaign finance reporting may be waived in the case of a “valid emergency,” an error by commission staff, or because the candidate was somehow not notified of the deadline. LePage could also obtain a waiver if his campaign could show that “a bona fide effort was made to file the report in accordance with the statutory requirements.”
While LePage may be able to meet one of those conditions, commissioners are also likely to consider that the offense is LePage’s third this campaign cycle: The governor was fined twice in June for tardiness in filing two separate 24-hour reports. Those fines totaled $210.
Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler brought in the most cash between May and July — mostly from his own pocket — but he’s also spent the most so far. Cutler lags both incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud for the cash their campaigns had on hand as of the latest reporting period. The Michaud campaign had just more than $1 million and LePage’s had about $930,000 as of July 15. Cutler had about $616,000, according to contribution and expenditure reports filed by a midnight deadline.
Taking a closer look at the contribution side, the same trends that have played out in fundraising so far continued at a faster clip from May to July. That is, Cutler put in about $588,000 of his own funds, Michaud raised nearly half of his contributions from out-of-state donors and LePage’s contributions from commercial sources continued to make up about a quarter of his amount raised.
Compare that with the contribution sources for each campaign since they began.
While the in-state and out-of-state representation of contributions is skewed a little because of Cutler’s self-financing, which is tied to his office in Portland, it’s still clear that fundraising has so far focused on key towns in southern Maine. For contributions by geography, Augusta and Bangor are outliers in ranking fifth and sixth for contributions to any of the three candidates’ campaigns since they started.
Outside of Maine, Michaud has a clear fundraising lead. About 35 percent, or $693,000, of the congressman’s funds have come from out of state, mostly from Washington D.C. That compares with about 19 percent of out-of-state funds for Cutler (again, keeping in mind the self-financing) and 16 percent for LePage.
And here’s a more detailed look at just where those out-of-state contributions are originating. Analyze the geographical reach of each candidate using the candidate filter in the view.
The Bellows for Senate campaign has replaced a portion of an advertisement on the “working class” a day after being criticized for using stock footage of a worker who was not from Maine.
Last Friday, Shenna Bellows released an ad that calls for raising the minimum wage and increasing the Social Security benefit as part of her campaign against Republican incumbent Sen. Susan Collins. The ad featured several brief clips of individuals – parents with young children, senior citizens, a hard hat-wearing worker – as Bellows talked about the need to strengthen the middle class.
But debate erupted on Twitter and other social media after some Republican observers – such as Portland Press Herald political contributor Philip Harriman – pointed out that the clip of the worker was apparently stock footage. Harriman wrote in an “Agree to Disagree” column that the footage was supplied by an Oregon-based company that hires actors to film scenes for advertisements.
“Now, I don’t actually know whether this guy is from Maine, ever been to Maine, or plans to vacation in Maine if Shenna wins, but it sure seems inappropriate for her to be running an ad where she says she wants ‘Maine families to get ahead’ while using stock footage of a model/actor who is probably from somewhere else,” wrote Harriman, a former Republican state senator.
On Tuesday, Republican observers noted again that the Bellows campaign had released a new version of the ad. This time, the stock footage was replaced with clips of two new but still-unidentified workers.
Links to the old ad no longer work. Here is the new ad:
In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Bellows downplayed the original clip — accurately pointing out that “campaigns often use stock footage” — but called the inclusion an “oversight” amid the bustle to launch both an ad campaign and a 350-mile walk across the state. Bellows said she had seen the ad prior to airing but did not know the worker was not from Maine.
Both of the workers in the new version are from Maine — one from Westbrook and the other from Bowdoinham. One worker is wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the number “327″ in the middle of what appears to be the seal for the Local 327 chapter of the Laborers’ International Union of North America in Augusta, which has endorsed Bellows’ campaign.
“I think the fact that we are up on television in July is a testament to the strength of the campaign,” Bellows said. “And the fact that Republicans are making a mountain out of a mole hill is a testament to the strength of our support.”
Bellows also called it “ridiculous” that Republicans would suggest she lacks support from workers considering that her campaign has been endorsed by numerous unions, including the AFL-CIO, a federation of unions with 26,000 members statewide. Collins has also picked up union endorsements, including all four representing employees at Bath Iron Works.
Republicans nonetheless attempted to capitalize on the incident.
“This is just one more amateur-hour effort by the Bellows campaign,” Maine Republican Party spokesman David Sorensen said in a statement. “When you outsource your campaign to D.C. consultants, this kind of mistake is bound to happen.”
Bellows is several days into a 350-mile walking tour of Maine that began in Houlton and will end in Kittery next month.
The post Bellows campaign re-shoots part of ad after criticism about non-Maine worker appeared first on Portland Press Herald Contributors.
A spokeswoman for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows says the campaign made “a mistake” when it included stock footage in an online advertisement about the candidate’s support for working class people.
The ad has since been taken down, and replaced with a new one featuring workers from Maine. (The workers, by the way, are Toby Johnston of Bowdoinham and Jim Mayo of Wesbrook — both are members of LIUNA Local 327 in Augusta.)
Abigail Collazo, a Bellows staffer, said the inclusion of the stock footage — which came from Getty Image’s iStock service — was never meant to make the video’s final cut.
“We had intended to use the Mainers footage,” she said. “If we had used it intentionally, we wouldn’t have changed it.”
Collazo said the oversight was a result of the intense focus on Bellows’ ongoing walk from Houlton to Kittery. The ad was released online Friday, and Bellows’ walking campaign began Saturday.
Still, Republicans over the weekend and on Monday criticized Bellows, first for using the stock footage, then again when she removed it.
“It speaks to the sincerity and the authenticity in the ad. If you really care about the people of Maine, you go out and film those people, who you’re seeking to represent,” said Maine GOP spokesman David Sorensen. “It indicates you don’t care as much about the authenticity of the ad, and you’re willing to take the shortcut.”
Lost in all this is the message of the ad, in which Bellows said Congress must increase the minimum wage and beef up social security benefits. Collazo pointed out that those two initiatives have been opposed by Bellows’ Republican opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.
Here’s the ad as it stands today:
A 21-year-old intern for the Mike Michaud campaign was suspended indefinitely Tuesday after the Maine Republican Party seized on a series of vulgar tweets by the college student.
Maine GOP spokesman David Sorenson lambasted the Michaud campaign for the tweets of Ben Gagnon, a Wheaton College student from Pownal who volunteers doing data entry for the U.S. Congressman’s gubernatorial campaign.
Gagnon, in an apparent attempt to preempt the GOP’s criticism, posted an image collage of the tweets in question late Monday, along with a message:
“BREAKING NEWS,” Gagnon tweeted. “Sometimes I tweet things that some may find inappropriate. #TripDownMemoryLane #LetsMoveOn.”
The GOP redistributed the collage of messages and in a statement, demanded that Michaud’s campaign respond and denounce the language and fire the person responsible.
The tweets, posted to Gagnon’s personal Twitter account, include sexual statements, obscenity-laden quotes from TV and movies, and references to illegal drugs and bodily functions. In addition to the sporadic messages that the GOP found offensive, Gagnon’s feed in other places looked like that of many other people his age, albeit with a definitive political bent. Family photos, messages to friends and dispatches from the Portland restaurant where he waits tables are interspersed with partisan messages, photos and links to news stories.
In a statement to the Press Herald announcing Gagnon’s suspension, Michaud’s campaign manager, Matt McTighe, denounced the tweets, and referred to Gagnon only as “this young person,” and “the intern.”
“The language used in this young person’s Tweets cannot be defended and do not represent the view of the campaign,” McTighe wrote. “We will provide increased training for volunteers and interns on the campaign to ensure that they conduct themselves in an appropriate manner whether in person or online. We will also review our online policy for volunteers.”
The statement also made a brief attempt to to turn the narrative around, attacking LePage for using inappropriate language himself.
For its part, the Maine GOP also tried to broaden the attack, and attempted to link the intern’s language to other dust-ups about Michaud’s staff, first in 1993 when Michaud was Democratic chair of the state redistricting commission, and then in 2002, when Michaud was a state senator.
Today’s decision from a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court about Obamacare is getting a lot of attention.
1. What did the decision do? Two of the three judges ruled that people cannot get subsidized health insurance unless they bought it through a state-run exchange. This would mean no subsidies for people in the states that used the federal exchange. However, nothing changes right now. People who could get subsidies yesterday are still getting them today.
2. How many Mainers would be affected if the decision stands? According to the last federal report, a bit more than 44,000 Maine people received insurance through the exchange. 89% of them received subsidies. Thus about 39,000 people have lost their subsidies, making insurance less affordable or unaffordable. According to one estimate, premiums for Mainers who had subsidized insurance would go up by 70-75%.
3. Is this the last word on the case? Hardly. The Obama administration will ask the full DC Circuit Court to hear the case. Note that the two judges on the three judge panel which ruled against subsidies for the federal exchange are Republicans. However, in the full DC Circuit Court, Republican appointees are in the minority.
4. And what about other Appeals Courts? Today another Appeals Court, the 4th Circuit, based in Virginia, had a three judge panel unanimously rule the opposite of what the DC Circuit’s three judge panel ruled. They found that subsidies are available whether or not one bought insurance on the state or federal exchange.
5. Might the Supreme Court hear this case sometime? Sure, although it’s more likely if there are contradictory decisions. If the full DC Circuit Court overrules the three judge panel’s 2-1 decision, there won’t be a contradiction. At the same time, it still could be heard in that circumstance. Only four Supreme Court Justices are needed to decide to hear a case.
6. What does this mean for people who were affected by Medicaid expansion having been blocked in Maine? During the debate about expansion, Republican opponents said that a portion of people who would have been covered by expanded MaineCare should instead get subsidized insurance through the exchange. If the Circuit Court panel’s decision is upheld, that will not be possible.
7. Did Congress really want to limit subsidies to state exchanges? In my opinion and the opinion of the writers of the legislation and the dissenting judge on the DC Circuit Court and the three judge panel of the Appeals Court (4th Circuit) — no. As the dissent for the DC Circuit panel points out, there are no indications in any congressional debate nor any materials from the time that they meant to do so. The claim that subsidies only go to insurance chosen on a state exchange is based on a single clause of the bill, while the context of the clause suggests otherwise. And no state, in discussing whether to have a state exchange, ever considered that not doing so would mean that no subsidies would be available to its citizens.
One of the areas of top concern, right below access to affordable prescription drug coverage, was helping seniors to stay in their own homes as they age. 79% of respondents said they were very or extremely likely to vote for a candidate who would work on “ensuring Mainers can afford to stay in their homes as they grow older.”
Promoting “aging in place,” as its known in demographic policy circles, is a crucially important goal for state lawmakers, as Maine has a rapidly aging population and the highest median age of any state in the country. Allowing seniors to stay in their own homes could lead to better quality of life for older Mainers as well as lower costs for the state.
Despite their general concerns, 65.5% of survey respondents reported that they were very or extremely confident of being able to stay in their current residence without “major modifications.”
Lower-income Mainers and women were significantly more likely than wealthier respondents and men to say that being able to stay in their own homes was of top importance.
Although majorities of Mainers of all political parties expressed concerns about seniors being able to stay at home, there was a definite partisan divide. 88% of Democrats, 72% of independents and 55% of Republicans identified the issue as a top priority.
The entire poll is an interesting read. It touches on other issues including health care, transportation and consumer protections against fraud and the responses may be particularly relevant to this year’s election. Older Mainers vote at a higher rate than other demographic groups, an effect that’s especially pronounced in non-presidential years.
The poll was conducted over 11 days in May of this year and was weighted for age and gender to Maine’s registered voter population over the age of 50. It has a statistical margin of error of +/- 2.2 percent, 95 times out of 100.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s campaign is probably pretty pleased one of the hottest national political issues right now is the debate over illegal immigration.
The Republican campaigned hard against doling out Maine resources to undocumented or illegal immigrants in 2010 and it’s an area he was able to follow through on promises as governor. As he reminded voters in a weekly radio address last month, he repealed Maine’s status as a “sanctuary” state in one of his first acts in office, granting Maine officials the right to ask about the legal status of those applying for welfare benefits. He also urged taxpayers to “tell your city councilors and selectmen to stop handing out your money to illegals.”
“Illegal aliens who choose to live in Maine are not our most vulnerable citizens. We need to take care of Mainers first. I think most Mainers would agree,” he said.
He’s probably right.
And that puts Democrat Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler in a squishy position – in a state where many are feeling the financial pinch, it’s politically challenging to advocate spending resources on folks who some would argue didn’t “play by the rules” or obey immigration law.
Michaud equivocated when asked for a statement by the Portland Press Herald, saying it’s “perfectly valid to have a discussion about who receives general assistance” but that it’s a costly burden to ask municipalities to look into immigration status.
Cutler, who trails the virtually tied LePage and Michaud by double-digits, used the dust-up as an opportunity to say a pox on both your houses.
“The Democratic attorney general and the Republican governor ought to stop fighting and work together to craft a solution created through negotiation, public input, and legal review,” he told the PPH.
This is a well LePage can keep going back to, as it rallies his base and ties into national GOP messaging ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. His opponents will have to keep on tying their tongues in knots to answer.
But as a topic likely to sway the election, it’s probably a non-starter.
There are two kind of issues in campaigns – the kind that fade after questions are asked and answered, and the kind that resonate. While this is resonating in some places nationally, particularly on the southern border, but it’s almost old news in Maine. Since there’s no new positioning here, or going against type, it’s likely debate on this issue won’t significantly change anyone’s minds.
Despite civics classes in high school, many Americans have little understanding of how a bill works its way through Congress. This apparently includes former State Senator Debra Plowman (R), who in an attack on Rep. Mike Michaud in today’s Bangor Daily News writes:
Then there’s Michael Michaud. He hasn’t caused any controversy or ruffled any feathers. In fact, he hasn’t done much of anything in the past 12 years besides vote his party’s line. Michaud’s ineffectiveness and general ambivalence toward governing foreshadow the type of governor he would be if elected this year.
Throughout 12 years in Congress, Michaud has failed to get a single bill passed into law; in fact, he hasn’t even gotten one of his bills a vote in the Senate.
Plowman spent more than ten years in the Maine Legislature, both as a Representative and Senator. Bills introduced here are stand alone, and must focus on just one subject of law.
But in Congress, bills are often rolled into other, larger “omnibus” bills. It’s why many of bills are divided into “Titles.”
Take, for example, this:
In July 2009, Rep. Mike Michaud authored H.R. 3155 – the Caregiver Assistance and Resource Enhancement Act. The CARE Act passed the House and was referred to the Senate, eventually becoming Title I of S. 1963 – the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act.
In other words, Mrs. Plowman is wrong when she states that “Michaud has failed to get a single bill passed into law; in fact, he hasn’t even gotten one of his bills a vote in the Senate.”
H.R. 3155 from the 111th Congress is now law. There are other bills authored by Rep. Michaud that are now law too, including H.R. 2530 that was rolled into H.R. 1627, etc.
What is unfortunate that as a former legislator, Mrs. Plowman didn’t bother to learn more about which she was writing.
Happy Monday, dear readers.
I’ll be keeping it brief this morning, as I’m en route to Portland to check in on Democratic gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who’s holding fundraisers and rallies in Southern Maine today with Vermont governor and Democratic Governors Association Chairman Peter Schumlin and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
Thought I’d leave you with this interesting tidbit, though, from Gallup, who’s reporting that roughly four out of five Americans say business and management pros are best-suited for governance.
About 81 percent of respondents, Gallup reports, said the country would be “governed better” if “more people with business and management experience” were in political office.
Also interesting: 63 percent of respondents said things would be better if more women were in office. The same figure said they think the country’s outlook would be better served by “people who think it is more important to compromise to get things done than to hold firm in their principles.” A majority — 59 percent — said they want to see more moderates.
Click the poll results below to see more analysis on this poll from Gallup itself.
— Shenna Bellows (@shennabellows) July 20, 2014
As we’ve written before, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows is reviving the Maine tradition of the long campaign walk. She started in Houlton on Saturday and will finish in Kittery — roughly 350 miles away — on Aug. 12.ICYMI: 7 stories you need to read
Click the headlines. Tons of good, interesting stuff from the BDN and our colleagues at the Sun Journal last week.
- Grip economy in Michaud’s home turf divides loyalties in governor’s race (BDN)
- Gubernatorial candidates see eye to eye — mostly — on east-west highway (BDN)
- More money, less money: The effects of not expanding MaineCare (Sun Journal)
- GOP ticket features conflicting views between moderate Collins and conservatives LePage, Poliquin (Sun Journal)
- LePage announces $13.1 million additional funding for struggling nursing homes (BDN)
- Asylum seekers will join lawsuit challenging LePage’s ban on aid to some immigrants (BDN)
- How the culture wars — especially abortion — will affect Maine’s CD2 race (BDN)
Shenna Bellows released a new television ad on Friday. In it she discusses the need for raising the minimum wage and increasing social security. Throughout the ad she has images of adults and kids standing in front of what is perhaps a family home in Hancock, then she has a couple of pictures of the elderly, and then a nice shot of a good looking guy in a warehouse. Here’s the guy in the warehouse:
All very nice and heartfelt, but take a closer look at that guy. Doesn’t he seem a bit too perfect? A bit too handsome? A bit too much like an actor?
Well, that’s because he is. Apparently, Bellow’s media consultants used “stock” video produced by a company from Oregon that hires actors to film scenes for them that they in turn sell to companies making ads. Here’s a still from stock video (note that it says “iStockvideo”):
Now, I don’t actually know whether this guy is from Maine, ever been to Maine, or plans to vacation in Maine if Shenna wins, but it sure seems inappropriate for her to be running an ad where she says she wants “Maine families to get ahead” while using stock footage of a model/actor who is probably from somewhere else. Or, at a minimum, was clearly not filmed for this ad.
If she is having trouble finding a Maine worker, I am sure I could introduce her to a few guys and gals at BIW whose jobs were saved by Susan Collins. Or maybe some nurses at Togus who are grateful for the federal funding she has secured. Or heck, even some Fort Kent construction workers who were able to build a new waste water plant based on a loan from the stimulus which Collins supported.
Campaigns that touch voters where they live give the candidate gravitas and build momentum as Election Day grows near. Using stock footage may make for nice commercials but it’s not going to stir voters like having someone known, and clearly from Maine, would.
As of the end of June 2014, Gallup found the highest coverage since they started measuring in 2008.
But take a look at the breakdown between states that expanded Medicaid and ones that did not, courtesy of a study from the Urban Institute.
The pattern is very clear, but here is a numerical summary:
The uninsurance rate for nonelderly adults dropped 6.1 percentage points (95% CI [4.9, 7.2]) in the expansion states, compared with 1.7 percentage points (95% CI [0.3, 3.0]) in the nonexpansion states. This represents a decline in the uninsurance rate of 37.7 percent in the expansion states and only 9.0 percent in the nonexpansion states.
Maine, of course, did not expand Medicaid because it was blocked by Gov. LePage, a move supported by most Republicans.
Now Maine hospitals, which supported expansion, have more hospital debt.
In Lewiston, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center budgeted for 5 percent of patients to be uninsured this year. Instead, so far, 8 percent are, and the hospital is about $2.3 million over budget on charity care and bad debt — money patients owe and can’t pay.
It’s on track to be $5.6 million over budget by year’s end. [source]
Money aside, there’s been a huge impact on many Mainers, including the mentally ill.
When Maine made deep cuts to its Medicaid program last January, 25,000 parents and childless adults lost their health care coverage. More than six months later, staffers at the Maine chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness say they are overwhelmed by calls.
The calls are from clients with little or no financial resources who are struggling to find treatment. The changes in eligibility are also taxing the resources of Maine’s jails and hospital emergency rooms that have become the refuge of last resort for hundreds of Medicaid castoffs. [source]
Medicaid expansion was one of the pillars of the Affordable Care Act, sure and strong before the Supreme Court ruled states could decide not to expand.
States that took the expansion path covered many, many of their citizens, while non-expansion states ended up with a far smaller drop in uninsurance.
And the consequences for human beings have been profound.
Phil and Ethan discuss the latest on the nursing home controversy and the second congressional district race. Did Gov. LePage get a political victory and has Republican nominee Bruce Poliquin snatched momentum from Democratic nominee Emily Cain in CD2?
In the second CD, while Cain has raised more money overall and leads by a few points in the latest polls, Poliquin has come out of the primary having raised significantly more money and enters the summer with more cash on hand. Was Cain caught of guard? Can Poliquin make up the ground needed? Phil and Ethan discuss below.
Nursing homes in Maine have had trouble meeting expenses, due to budget shortfalls. Governor LePage and Democrats have been battling for political advantage. LePage rolled out a fix, finding money saved from another part of the budget. Is this a political victory for LePage? Why now?