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State ethics commission issues decision in L. Philip Soucy case
By Nick Katers
AUGUSTA, Maine: The Maine Campaign Ethics Commission determined earlier this month that L. Philip Soucy did not break state election laws during the 2012 general election. Soucy, the campaign treasurer for Representative Allen Nadeau, was accused of lying about his role in Nadeau’s campaign to oust longtime legislator John Martin. The accusation centers on Soucy's use of personal funds to pay for campaign literature supporting Nadeau through a campaign group called the Center for Effective Government. The commission determined by a 5-0 vote that Soucy was allowed to provide funds outside of the public funding system as he was not a campaign agent and did not coordinate with Nadeau.
The commission began an investigation into Soucy’s activities after Nadeau’s victory over Martin in November 2012. The original decision determined that Soucy and Nadeau had coordinated expenditures of $1,475 with private funds even though the campaign opted into public funding. Staff members on the commission reopened the investigation in January and determined that Soucy did not coordinate with the candidate to break state law. The Maine Clean Election Act of 1995 states:
“Any expenditure made by any person in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a candidate’s political committee or their agents is considered to be a contribution to that candidate.”
The Maine Democratic Party criticized the commission’s August decision as inconsistent with state law. “Once again, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t remember’ was considered an adequate defense for clearly violating Maine’s election laws,” said party chairman Ben Grant. Grant and spokesperson Lizzy Reinholt indicated that the state party will lobby the Legislature to clarify campaign regulations.