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The Latest: Maine releases $1 million in campaign funds

August 7, 2018

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Latest on Maine’s release of over $1 million in public campaign funds (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

The office of Maine’s Republican governor’s says his finance agency will comply with a court order to release over $1 million in public campaign funds, but says the ethics commission should cut the checks itself.

Gov. Paul LePage’s administration agreed to release money that LePage held up by refusing to sign routine financial orders.

LePage spokeswoman Julie Rabinowitz said state financial staffers are helping Maine Ethics Commission transfer the funds Tuesday. She said the commission will issue checks in the future.

A judge ruled Aug. 2 that Maine should release public funds to qualifying candidates, even if LePage hasn’t given his approval.

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10:04 a.m.

An attorney says Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration will release more than $1 million in public campaign funding that the governor held up by refusing to sign routine financial orders.

Maine Citizens for Clean Elections attorney John Brautigam said the administration agreed to do so Monday. A superior court judge ruled on Aug. 2 that the state should release budgeted public funds to qualifying candidates, even if the governor hasn’t given his approval.

Seven candidates in the Maine Clean Election program sued because the governor refused to release over $1 million in overdue public campaign funds to more than 120 legislative candidates and one gubernatorial hopeful.

Attorneys for LePage argued the governor has discretion to sign financial orders.

The LePage administration didn’t immediately respond Tuesday to request for comment.

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