Online attack targeting Eliot Cutler was protected speech, consultant’s lawyers say

Eliot Cutler in November 2010.
Joel Page | AP
Eliot Cutler in November 2010.
Posted Feb. 10, 2012, at 1:18 p.m.
Dennis Bailey
Dennis Bailey

PORLTLAND, Maine — Lawyers for a political consultant who created a website targeting independent Eliot Cutler in the 2010 race for governor says the online attack was constitutionally protected political speech.

Dennis Bailey’s lawyers submitted the written arguments in U.S. District Court in Portland as part of their effort to overturn a $200 fine imposed by the state ethics commission.

The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices said Bailey, who was working for a rival candidate, should have disclosed who authorized and paid for the site.

The Portland Press Herald says an assistant attorney general representing the ethics commission is defending the fine. The filing said the commission, and voters, need to know who’s paying for campaigns.

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