Sara Gideon, the Democratic challenger to Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine), is finding herself in hot water after being hit with a second ethics complaint stemming from the past operations of her state Leadership PAC.
The new complaint filed against Gideon, who is currently the speaker of Maine's House of Representatives, was submitted Tuesday to the state's Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices by the Maine Republican Party. It alleges that the Gideon Leadership PAC failed to disclose thousands in expenditures for at least six Facebook ad campaigns in the runup to the 2018 elections.
The complaint further adds that the undisclosed spending appeared to fund ads that promoted Gideon's state House reelection efforts, which bypasses the $400 per election in-kind contribution limit in the state.
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"Sara Gideon continues her pattern of unethical behavior," said Dr. Demi Kouzounas, chair of the Maine Republican Party. "First, the Maine Ethics Commission found Gideon broke the law by illegally using her corporate-funded Leadership PAC to reimburse herself for campaign contributions. Today, Mainers learn she tried to hide thousands of dollars worth of campaign ads while also illegally boosting her own political ambitions."
"Mainers know Gideon has long relied on corporate money, shady donors, and now illegally hiding campaign spending to further her political ambitions and give Maine’s voice away to Washington special interests," Kouzounas said.
This is the second ethics complaint Gideon has faced since announcing her candidacy in what is expected to be one of the most hotly contested Senate races in the country for the 2020 elections.
Gideon was hit with her first ethics complaint last August following a Washington Free Beacon report detailing how Gideon repeatedly violated election laws by reimbursing herself for personal political contributions to federal campaigns with money from her since dissolved Leadership PAC.
The state's ethics watchdog unanimously found that Gideon had violated state laws and fined the committee $500 over its actions.
Bre Kidman, who is challenging Gideon in the Democratic primary, said ethics questions are becoming a liability for the establishment's preferred candidate.
"Is there a point at which mainstream Dems start treating the constant trickle of ethic violations like a genuine liability?" Kidman asked on Twitter. "Or is everyone gonna keep pretending that it can be covered up by spending millions on advertisements?"