Susan Collins challenger hit with ethics complaints over reimbursements

Susan Collins challenger hit with ethics complaints over reimbursements
© Aaron Schwartz

Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Democrat running to challenge Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families MORE (R-Maine) next year, is facing ethics complaints filed Friday by a former GOP lawmaker over Gideon's political action committee's (PAC) activities.

Former state Sen. Ed Youngblood (R) filed complaints with the Federal Elections Commission and the Maine Ethics Commission alleging that Gideon broke the law by accepting reimbursements for her political donations from her own PAC.

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Gideon apologized for the reimbursements and blamed "incorrect guidance" for them after the Washington Free Beacon first reported them earlier this year. Experts told the Free Beacon that the reimbursements likely violated election law regarding contributions made on behalf of others.

Gideon's campaign slammed the ethics complains as a "political attack" and told The Hill that the issue had been resolved before Youngblood filed his complaint.

"It's unfortunate that people are trying to misrepresent the facts and turn this into a partisan political attack. The contributions were within the legal limit and fully disclosed, but the committee was given incorrect guidance on how to process them. The error was immediately addressed," a spokesperson said.

Youngblood told the Bangor Daily News that he believed Gideon could have been misled but wanted to see an official record of the violation.

“She may very well have been misled and probably was,” he said. “But the fact remains that she broke the law and there ought to be a public record that shows that she did.”

Gideon's campaign said earlier this month that it had reimbursed the federal government $3,250 for the violations and said that the issue was closed as the PAC had been dissolved, the Daily News reported.