Ethics complaint takes aim at Maine newspaper

January 3, 2011

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AUGUSTA, Maine—A complaint filed with Maine's campaign oversight panel is taking aim at free newspaper ads given to supporters of a successful ballot measure to have a popularly elected mayor in Portland.

Former Portland Charter Commission Member Thomas Valleau (Val-LOH') said Monday he asked the ethics commission to investigate an arrangement between the Portland Press Herald and the Portland Regional Chamber. The newspaper ran eight ads in support of the Nov. 2 referendum.

Valleau thinks the paper violated Maine campaign laws. He also says newspapers shouldn't be giving free ads to political campaigns they favor.

The Elect Our Mayor/Yes on 1 political action committee reported that the ads were valued at nearly $47,000.

Newspaper Publisher Richard Connor did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press.