- Inaccuracies from Mills camp were reported without verification,leading to coverage that largely and inaccurately favored Mills
- This must serve as a cautionary lesson to reporters to independently verify information, not just parrot Mills campaign talking points
AUGUSTA – The Maine Republican Party is setting the record straight on recent reporting that provided a much more favorable narrative for the Mills for Governor campaign. Misleading statements from the Mills campaign were repeated with no verification by the media. The following are three glaring examples of a job not well done:
On total dollars raised, Janet Mills' campaign for Governor released a statement to the media that portrayed far more favorable results than were true:
Mills' campaign claimed the candidate had raised $1,052,584.67 to-date in the race for Governor.
TRUTH: Mills' campaign raised $1,032, 605.76 and had counted in a campaign loan as funds raised, although they are listed separately on the report.
The media reported the larger number, which allowed them to claim the Mills campaign had raised about $14,000 MORE than the Moody campaign, when the reports themselves show the Mills campaign had raised about $6,000 LESS than Moody.
Had reporters worked to verify the statement from the Mills campaign, instead of just taking their word for it, reports such as these would have been very different:
“Mills, the attorney general, raised just over $1.05 million through July 17, according to her latest filings with the Maine Ethics Commission. That was just ahead of Moody, a businessman whoraised just under $1.04 million in both the primary and general election campaigns combined.” - Bangor Daily News
“Campaign finance figures released Tuesday night show Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills edging out her Republican opponent, businessman Shawn Moody, by less than $20,000.” - Portland Press Herald
CASH ON HAND
The Mills campaign originally reported they had $212,596 “cash on hand” when they actually had only $206,546 cash on hand.
However, the original amount was reported, and even as of the writing of this statement, the original “cash on hand” amount reported by Mills remains in at least one news article:
“While the Mills campaign said a “software issue” prevented it from posting the full reports on the Maine ethics commission website Tuesday night, the campaign reported raising $1,052,585 as of July 17 and ending the most recent reporting period with $212,596 in available cash.” - Portland Press Herald
IN-STATE VS OUT-OF-STATE
The Mills campaign also got away with a pretty big spin line about Mills support from in-state vs out-of-state donors, saying in both the original and updated statements from the Mills campaign:
“Additionally, nearly 80 percent of the total money raised has been from Maine...”
along with a lengthy quote from the campaign about support from “thousands of Mainers.”
The Bangor Daily News accurately provided context that the Moody campaign reported more than 97% of donors were from Maine. A dramatically higher number than Mills, but fair in providing the complete picture of the race.
The Portland Press Herald, however, did not cover the actual numbers and instead provided the full quote the Mills camp provided and followed it up by saying that the Moody campaign “did not immediately comment on the finance reports,” even though the online PPH article shows it was updated Thursday and the Moody campaign statement was issued early Wednesday morning.
Maine Republican Party Communications Director, Nina McLaughlin, weighed in,“We need to caution the press to verify the statements from the Mills campaign before publishing them.
"Janet Mills was allowed to claim she raised more money than Shawn Moody when she did not. She was allowed to present herself as having very strong in-state support from donors when she actually has raised a lower percentage of her money from Maine donors than any of the four well-funded candidates for Governor, and she was allowed to overstate her cash on hand amount significantly.
“All this was supposedly because her campaign reported having a software issue. What a shame.”
JANET MILLS HAS TRACK RECORD OF MISLEADING THE PRESS
Mills was caught lying in television ads in the primary, claiming Governor LePage had tried to take healthcare away from children, using a photo of a young child in television ads, when the issue she was discussing was actually about able-bodied adults.
Mills was also caught lying to the press by saying she had never raised money with disgraced New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman shortly before a flyer of a Mills fundraiser with Schneiderman was discovered and released by the Howie Carr Show.