Maine paper drops lawsuit after state releases documents

Posted Sept. 23, 2010, at 9:04 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The daily newspaper in Maine’s capital city has dropped its lawsuit against the state ethics commission after the agency released documents the paper was seeking in connection with a gubernatorial candidate’s campaign.

The Kennebec Journal in Augusta filed a suit after the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices denied its requests for documents relating to Democrat John Richardson’s failed gubernatorial campaign. The agency said the documents were confidential because they were part of a criminal investigation.

The papers — two data CDs and copies of ethics commission files, including e-mails — were released Friday and Monday to Kennebec Journal editor and publisher Anthony Ronzio.

Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Elections, said Wednesday, “It was always our intention to make these documents public in a way that would not interfere with the criminal investigation and we are glad that we were able to work with the Kennebec Journal to come to an out-of-court resolution.”

The commission turned over the documents after Maine’s attorney general filed criminal complaints last week against four Richardson campaign workers, saying they falsified documents to help Richardson qualify for public campaign funding.

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