The Watchdog Index: What you can do with $42 million

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The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting unveils its second annual Watchdog Index, modeled after the Harper's Index. We have been performing high level math — ok, mostly grade school arithmetic — to come up with how money was spent on the Maine election this year and finding other ways it could have been spent.

Such as helping Mainers stay warm, sending kids to baseball games or buying thousands and thousands of people Bean boots. Continue Reading →

Such a deal

The LePage Inaugural 2015 group, which is organizing celebrations to coincide with the official inauguration, is offering a discount to parties of four or more to attend “a thank-you event” for just $2,000 per person.

That’s $1,000 off retail! Continue Reading →

Poll news is no news

As voters surely saw this past campaign season, there were lots of polls. They showed how one candidate was winning or another.

But polls can be wrong, and they are often abused by political operatives who want to promote candidates.

Read John Christie's latest "Who Ya Kidding" to see how it all works. Continue Reading →

As election neared, millions poured into state

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In the last 13 days before Election Day, state campaign finance records show millions of dollars coming in, millions going out – much of it for the heated race for governor. Use our interactive charts to explore the last-minute contributions and expenditures in Maine’s state Nov. 4 election. Continue Reading →

The party’s not over

The number of fundraising events appears to have slowed during this last month as campaigns have accelerated their efforts to raise money from everyday citizens, not just high-dollar donors, through phone calls and emails. Continue Reading →

The ‘gatekeepers': Ten wealthy Mainers giving $3.95 million to this election

Sydney Roberts Rockefeller

The top 10 individual Maine donors to state and national political campaigns represent just .001 percent of Maine’s adult population of about one million.

But that minuscule percentage represents 27.3 per cent of all donations to candidates, parties and causes from contributors with a Maine address. Continue Reading →

Sanford senator used PAC money to pay himself and family $17,000

Sen. John Tuttle, Jr., (D) Sanford.  Photo:  Maine Senate Democrats

A veteran state legislator has used a campaign fund designed to help other Democratic candidates run for office to buy tires, pay for car repairs, reimburse himself for travel and pay his wife and daughter for computer services and keeping his books. Continue Reading →

How to survive Maine’s 2014 elections

It’s not easy being a voter these days. You’re inundated with flyers, emails and TV and radio advertisements about where candidates stand or don’t stand or will never, ever stand on issues whose complexities are belied by the emphatic and categorical statements issued almost hourly by campaigns. Who can you believe? What’s real and what’s not? Our role at the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting is to help citizens understand what is really going on in state government and elections. Continue Reading →

‘We’re not getting anywhere’: A judge’s day enforcing victim restitution orders

Steven Bell appears before Judge Gregory Campbell on Aug. 20 in Bangor District Court for a hearing on his restitution order

On the afternoon of Aug. 20, three offenders who owe victims restitution came before District Court Judge Gregory Campbell in his Bangor courtroom. Their cases illustrate common issues the courts have in enforcing restitution agreements. One had been successfully paying back restitution — little by little — on a payment plan; another had failed to stick to a payment plan; and the third left promising to return with money, and never returned. Continue Reading →

Pah-tay with the pols

Today, we introduce our readers to “Political Party Time” — or, as our colleague Kathy Kiely from the Sunlight Foundation calls it, political “money porn.” It’s a window into how politics really work in Maine, where readers can get the inside view of the soliciting that goes on behind the virtuous image promoted by many Maine politicians. Continue Reading →