Maine Ethics Committee announces investigation of Stop the Corridor
The Committee on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices has decided to investigate whether or not Stop the Corridor, intended to put the highly debated Central Maine Power transmission corridor on the November ballot.
CMP wants to remove the question about the future of the project from the ballot.
The company claims donors to Stop the Corridor did not realize the organization's effort was to put the plan to a vote of the people.
CMP argues that Stop the Corridor has acted as a Political Action Committee, a PAC, and did not make that clear to those who gave money.
“We believe this organization looks like a PAC, sounds like a PAC, conducts its operations like a PAC. And there’s sufficient grounds as you found to investigate it as a PAC," said Newell Augur,
Counsel for Clean Energy Matters.
To make a decision, the committee will investigate the actions of Stop the Corridor, starting last summer.
A large part will be looking into its advertising against the project.
“We really need to understand what was it doing beginning in August 2019. Then compare that in a general sense what it was doing prior to that. And we need to understand its financial activities, in order to do that, including payments made to vendors and other sorts of payments that it made," said Jonathan Wayne, Committee Executive Director.
Those representing Stop the Corridor say that their spending intentions have always been clear.
“We have always been transparent about the generalized amounts of money, they’re very public. So I’m not sure why the documents we submitted are somehow triggering some new curiosity about what did the funder know when they gave the money. I mean that question should’ve arisen two months ago quite frankly," Kate Knox.
Counsel for Stop the Corridor.
There is no timetable for the committee to make a decision.
In the meantime, the Secretary of State's Office is encouraging public comment on the wording used for the ballot question.