Maine Senate rejects bill to increase fines for political ad violations

Posted March 15, 2012, at 12:16 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — More legislative votes are expected following the Senate’s rejection of a bill that would have increased fines for violations of Maine’s laws on campaign advertising.

The Senate on Wednesday rejected by a 19-16 vote a bill that seeks to increase penalties for political action committees or party committees that fail to comply with a law requiring timely disclosure of advertising sponsorship.

In Wednesday’s debate, Democratic Sen. Phil Bartlett of Gorham said that during the 2010 election cycle, money flowed into Maine in flagrant disregard of the rules. He says the current fines are so low that they’re considered part of the cost of doing business. The law would have assessed a fine up to $100,000 for reporting violations.

The measure goes to the House for consideration as early as Thursday.