Elections
Maine independent Senate candidate Angus King. Photo: Robert F. Bukaty / AP  Maine independent Senate candidate Angus King. Photo: Robert F. Bukaty / AP   

Maine GOP files FEC complaint claiming illegal coordination between King campaign, super PAC

Photo of Alexis Levinson
Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

The Maine Republican Party filed a multi-count complaint with the Federal Election Commission Friday, alleging that independent Senate candidate Angus King’s campaign “illegally coordinated” with the super PAC Americans Elect.

Americans Elect began running an ad supporting King’s Senate bid on Friday. The ad is part of a $500,000 buy.

The basis of the complaint is that Eliot Cutler, a state chair for King’s campaign, is also a member of the eight-person board of directors of Americans Elect. He is listed as a director on the home page of the Americans Elect website, which is the website listed in the disclaimer at the end of the ad.

Cutler emailed The Daily Caller to say that he had resigned from the board in June, and provided a copy of the agenda from the June 26 board call on which he did so.

“The leadership of the Maine GOP often goes off half-cocked without knowing the facts,” Cutler said in response to the complaint. “They obviously did it again.”

The complaint also states that Americans Elect has not properly registered as a political committee, something required for any organization that spends over $1,000 to influence an election.

“Americans Elect is an organization that is primarily engaged in candidate support activity including for a particular identified candidate has failed to file with, and report to, the Commission as a political committee,” the complaint reads.

The complaint alleges that the coordination comes as a result of King’s falling standing in the polls — recent polls have shown the race between him and Republican Charlie Summers tightening.

“From breaking his promise to ‘never’ run a negative campaign to flip-flopping and accepting special interest PAC money from Washington to now welcoming the same outside groups that he once condemned, it’s clear that Angus King and his wealthy friends are getting desperate,” said Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster. “But abandoned principles and sinking poll numbers are no excuse for violating the law which is what Mr. King and his out-of-state supporters appear to have done here.”

“It’s one thing for Angus King to continually put his personal political interests ahead of voters in Maine,” Webster added, “but it’s another matter when those actions violate the law and we look forward to a thorough investigation by the FEC into these illegal campaign ads.”

King’s campaign responded denying any wrongdoing.

“We did not know about this ad nor did we ask for it,” Communications Director Crystal Canney told The Daily Caller. “All of these ads — NRSC, U.S. Chamber and the latest ads are exactly what Angus warned about in June. We called for all candidates to disavow the ads and Charlie Summers refused. We will not unilaterally disarm, the time has passed when this money could have been kept out of Maine. We don’t like it and wish we could have worked together with the candidates to attempt to prevent it. You can thank the NRSC and Charlie Summers for turning this into an ad war.”

She added: “it’s silly and we are happy to respond to the complaint.”

A spokesperson for Americans Elect did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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