Ethics panel declines to probe campaign complaint against Aroostook sheriff

Posted Sept. 30, 2010, at 11:16 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 27, 2011, at 8:54 a.m.
Sheriff James Madore  (NEWS Photo byBeurmond Banville)
Sheriff James Madore (NEWS Photo byBeurmond Banville)

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Ethics Commission declined to investigate a campaign complaint against Aroostook County Sheriff James Madore on Thursday, saying the issue was outside of the commission’s jurisdiction.

In early September, Zachary Smith, chairman of the Aroostook County Republican Committee, alleged in a complaint that Madore had wrongly used county-owned property and other employees of the sheriff’s office to promote his re-election.

Among the allegations were that Madore ran his re-election campaign out of the sheriff’s office and used county employees and county-owned vehicles in his campaign.

However, Ethics Commission staff said the complaints fell outside of the commission’s purview.

“The commission is the campaign finance disclosure agency for the state of Maine and administers the Maine Clean Election Act,” Jonathan Wayne, the commission’s executive director, wrote in a letter to Smith.

“The agency also has authority to investigate complaints of limited legislative issues (conflicts of interest, undue influence, etc.). The commission has no jurisdiction over the professional ethics of county or municipal officers or over misuse of public property for political purposes,” Wayne wrote.

On Thursday, the commission members agreed.

Aroostook County Administrator Douglas Beaulieu also filed a letter with the commission saying that after a review of the complaint, the county commissioners found no evidence of wrongdoing or unethical practices.

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