AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Ethics Commission on Wednesday imposed a $9,000 fine on Republican Sen. Andre Cushing, of Newport, for violations of the state's campaign finance laws by his political action committee.

The panel imposed a $1,500 fine for late reporting of campaign contributions and a $7,500 fine for violations by his leadership PAC, Respect Maine.

The fines, imposed by a 3-2 vote, were lower than the staff recommendation of $11,000. The maximum penalty was more than $100,000.

The assistant majority leader of the Maine Senate was accused of failing to report short-term loans from his PAC to a family business. But the commission staff found that his actions did not give Cushing or others an unfair political advantage.

Cushing didn't contest the ethics staff's findings, though he told reporters that the fine was too high.

"The senator acknowledged all along that there were some reporting problems, and he was up front and cooperative with the commission staff," said Josh Tardy, Cushing's attorney and a former Republican leader.

The investigation began when Cushing's sister, Laura McIntyre, asked the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices to investigate the money flowing between the PAC and the family business, New England Forest Products.

She also sued him in Penobscot County Superior Court, claiming Cushing misused more than $1 million in family funds.

Cushing called his sister "disgruntled," and he filed revised campaign finance reports.

"Overall I think there's a sense of relief that this part of the Cushing family saga is coming to a close," Tardy said.

A phone number couldn't be found for McIntyre, and her lawyer declined comment on Wednesday.