- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 27, 2018

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - An independent gubernatorial candidate called for an end to “partisan nonsense” Wednesday after Maine lawmakers failed to release the public funds she and over 200 legislative candidates are counting on.

An unintended error in Maine’s budget doesn’t allow the state to disperse public funding to candidates after July 1. Also, Republican Gov. Paul LePage hasn’t signed financial orders to effectively allow supplemental payments to publicly financed candidates due this week.

State treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Terry Hayes says over 5,500 voters contributed $5 to help her qualify for public funds. While it typically costs up to $3 million for gubernatorial runs, Hayes has received $600,000, so far, and her future payments are in limbo.

“If they’ve got to starve my campaign in order to win, what does that tell you?” Hayes said. “It’s that kind of partisan nonsense that erodes or eliminates our trust in government.”

Maine Ethics Commission Executive Director Jonathan Wayne said this week, 120 candidates are owed $1.3 million in supplemental payments because they have opted to collect greater numbers of $5 contributions. But even though Maine has enough public campaign funds to cover the payments, the ethics commission only has enough authority to spend 28 percent of what candidates are owed.



The commission Wednesday decided to give out partial payments to candidates, for now.

Meanwhile, lawmakers have not passed emergency legislation to fix the error preventing the release of any money after July 1. House Republicans ideologically opposed to public financing offered to fix the error while also temporarily withdrawing $3 million from the fund.

Wayne said doing so would drain the coffers by August. Republican Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake said once the fund runs out, publicly financed candidates can simply seek traditional donations.

LePage’s office didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.

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