Even though the staff of the Maine Ethics Commission has found that there does not appear to be an ethics violation by the Maine College Republicans, the Maine College Democrats are bringing their complaint to the full commission on Tuesday.
Last week, Maine College Democrats Co-President Oliver Radwan, a Bowdoin junior, alleged that Maine College Republicans Chairman Nathaniel Walton violated campaign finance laws by improperly working for state Sen. Chandler Woodcock's gubernatorial campaign while also leading the Republicans' political action committee (PAC). Walton is Woodcock's field director.
The commission's seven-person professional staff investigated the allegations and found that the College Republicans' PAC did not appear to have made a contribution to the Woodcock campaign, according to Jonathan Wayne, the commission's executive director. The commission's staff was told that the Democrats planned to go no further with the complaint, Wayne said.
However, by Thursday afternoon, the Democrats informed the staff that they wanted to bring the allegations to the full commission. The commission is comprised of five volunteer members appointed by the governor and legislative leaders.
Martha Demeritt, a registrar with the commission, confirmed that the complaint is on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting. The meeting will take place at 9 a.m. in Augusta.
"We are continuing with it because we believe an ethics violation did occur," Radwan told the Orient. "The questions that have been investigated so far need to be looked at further."
In a written statement to the Orient, Walton took aim at the College Democrats.
"While the Maine College Democrats generate frivolous complaints that waste the time of those tasked with ensuring the integrity of the electoral process, Maine College Republicans are strengthening their statewide organization by recruiting record amounts of new members, who are playing the pivotal grassroots role towards finally charting the course of Maine's future in the right direction on November 7," he wrote.
The Orient also learned shortly before press time early this morning that the College Republicans will file their own complaint against the College Democrats today. In a letter to the commission provided to the Orient, Walton alleges that the Democrats failed to file required financial disclosures related to comedian Al Franken's visits to Bowdoin and Bates colleges last year.