REP. DILLON BATES IN VIOLATION OF STATE LAW FOR NEARLY
IGNORED ETHICS COMMUNICATIONS REQUESTS, $2,600 “CLEAN ELECTIONS” CAMPAIGN FUNDS NOT RETURNED BY LEGAL DEADLINE
AUGUSTA – Document discovered by the Maine GOP reveals that Democrat State Representative Dillon Bates of Westbrook faces up to a $10,000 fine for failure to return taxpayer funds provided under the 'Maine Clean Elections' program for nearly 2 months after the legal deadline for candidates to return unused funds.
The Maine Ethics Commission document, (available by clicking this link) outlines how Rep. Bates was contacted 11 different times from December through February by the Maine Ethics Commission via mail, email and phone calls, as they attempted to collect the more than $2,600 owed by Rep. Bates.
The document also describes how the Maine Ethics Commission Staff even went so far as contact House Democrat campaign staff to try and bring Rep. Bates into compliance with the law and collect the unspent taxpayer funds.
From the document:
“Dear Rep. Bates,
This letter is to notify you that the staff of the Maine Ethics Commission intends to recommend the assessment of a civil penalty against you at the March 3, 2017 meeting of the Commission for failing to return unspent Maine Clean Election Act (MCEA) funds. Our records indicate that you owe $2,616.99 in public campaign funds to the state. The Commission has determined that an enforcement proceeding is necessary after requesting the funds 11 times without a successful result...
“...As a candidate in the 2016 general election, you were required to return these funds by December 20, 2016, which was the deadline for the report due forty-two days after the general election...
“...The duty to return unspent campaign funds is a common-sense requirement of participating in the MCEA program that is well-known to experienced program participants such as yourself...
“...The Commission may assess a penalty of up to $10,000 for a violation of the MCEA (21-A M.R.S.A. § 1127(1))
“Candidate Registrar Emma Burke and I have sent you directly 11 requests for the unspent funds by email, telephone and U.S. Mail (written contacts are attached).Most of these should have been unnecessary for you to fulfill a basic requirement of the MCEA program:
“...You have acknowledged the debt in a couple of communications to our office, including a February 15 phone call from you to Candidate Registrar Emma Burke. This was one day after I contacted the House Democratic campaign staff for assistance...”
Please note, the Maine GOP is providing you this information in the interest of accountability for the taxpayers and people of Maine, we will be monitoring this situation through the March 3 ethics hearing and until resolution.