Naomi Schalit

Recent Stories

Maine political fundraising in full bloom

Here at Political Party Time, we took a break from chronicling campaign shindigs when the 2014 election season ended. But we’re back now, dressed up in our best party clothes and working harder than ever so that you don’t miss any of the fun. And there’s lots of wine, beer, cheese and crackers to be had, as the political fundraising season shifts into high gear. (For the most up-to-date list of events, scroll through the Political Party Time schedule at right, provided through our partners at the Sunlight Foundation.)

We don’t actually go to any of the fundraisers that we write about. It would be unethical for us as non-partisan journalists to pay – er, contribute – money to political candidates, their parties or their PACs. Continue Reading →

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Portland legislator paid self from leadership PAC founded to support other candidates

Since 2013, Rep. Diane Russell’s “Working Families PAC” paid her a total of $7,747 of its total expenditures of $39,583. Unlike other so-called leadership PACs, where most of the money raised goes to support fellow party members’ electoral ambitions, Russell’s PAC gave only $1,550 in contributions to Democratic candidates or organizations. Continue Reading →

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Maine Democrats play middleman between wealthy Clinton donors and national party

Wealthy donors from across the country have sent nearly $100,000 to the Maine Democratic Party as part of a coordinated fundraising program called the Hillary Victory Fund. But not all of that money is staying in the state: 40 percent of it has already been transferred to the Democratic National Committee. Continue Reading →

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The problem for Maine kids that won’t go away: lead paint poisoning

Part one of four: Childhood lead poisoning may be off the front pages, replaced by trendier hazards such as the chemicals in flame retardant clothing, but the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting has found it is still the No. 1 toxic health hazard for children. The problem is acute and persistent in parts of Maine, especially among poor and immigrant families. Continue Reading →

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LePage killed ethics reform bill that would bar legislators from paying themselves, family members with PAC money

A bill that would have tightened up regulations that allowed a Sanford legislator to pay himself and family members from a political action committee (PAC) he controlled was killed in late June by a veto by Gov. Paul LePage, which the Maine Senate failed to override. Continue Reading →

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Legislature and LePage agree: rural residents given right to question wind turbines

Gov. LePage and the legislature have found something to agree on: restoring the right of residents in rural Maine to have a say in the siting of wind turbines in their portion of the Unorganized Territories. The governor has signed a bill doing that after it was sent to him by the legislature. Continue Reading →

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Survey says: “Independent, credible, in-depth, substantiated, detailed, nonpartisan, hard-hitting, courageous”

We got a terrific response from our readers to the survey we sent in January – almost 15 percent of you took the survey, which puts our readers in the “Nobel Prize For Answering Surveys” category. Better still was what found out from you: We got lots of information about how you use our website, where you read our stories, what you think about our stories’ length, and why readers do or don’t contribute financially to our organization. We know better what you think of our name and logo, too, though we got some conflicting answers there: Some of you like our watchdog, and some of you thought it made us look like an advocacy organization for pets. But there was no conflicting information when it comes to what you think of our stories. We were incredibly gratified to see the chart below, which is a compilation of answers to the question, “Which of these words best describes our work? Continue Reading →

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Ethics board: change law that allowed legislator to pay himself from his PAC

Maine’s ethics agency has proposed legislation that would tighten up lax regulations that allowed a Sanford legislator to pay himself and family members from political action committee funds he controlled.

Commission staff proposed the change in response to a story published in October by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting. Continue Reading →

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