Ethics complaint takes aim at Portland Press Herald

Posted Jan. 03, 2011, at 2:05 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 03, 2011, at 2:47 p.m.

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 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.

The paper recently made national news when it ran a Page 1 story about Ramadan on 9/11 and quickly apologized, and again after it stopped accepting online comments but quickly backtracked.

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