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REPORT: Sara Gideon took almost $20k from D.C. lobbyists ahead of new anti-lobbyist pledge

WASHINGTON D.C. – A report from the Washington Free Beacon says that Sara Gideon’s campaign for U.S. Senate accepted nearly $20,000 from dozens of lobbyists, mostly based in Washington D.C., in the months leading up to her roll-out of a new policy paper in which Gideon takes aim at lobbyist donations in politics.

“Between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2019, the Gideon campaign raked in $18,310 from 28 individuals who work directly with special interest groups or at firms that spend big on lobbying activities, filings show. A majority of the donations came from individuals in the Washington, D.C., metro area.”

Washington Free Beacon, January 19th, 2020

This is not the first time Gideon has run afoul of her own campaign rhetoric.

Gideon has tried to frame herself as opposing corporate PAC donations, but reports have shown she built her career on corporate donations to her leadership PAC from the same corporations Democrats claim to oppose, such as large pharmaceutical companies.

Gideon, who serves as the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, has also run afoul of several state and federal campaign finance laws related to her corporate funded leadership PAC.

Gideon was fined by the Maine Ethics Commission last year for a straw donor scheme where she violated state (and, as Gideon admitted) federal law. In that scheme, Gideon made federal contributions to candidates, then reimbursed herself with funds from her corporate-funded PAC. Federal candidates are forbidden to accept corporate contributions, and donors are forbidden to funnel corporate money into federal campaign contributions.

She also faces charges for that straw donor scheme before the FEC, but a hearing has yet to be scheduled. When exposed, Gideon admitted to having violated federal campaign finance law. A longtime campaign finance attorney called the type of violation Gideon had committed “the number one worst campaign finance violation under federal law.” Gideon could face steep penalties from the FEC for the violation.

Another piece of Gideon’s newly announced agenda causing some head-scratching is her pledge to “crack down on secret spending in elections.”

Gideon has been silent over the past six months as her former aide and a former aide to Rep. Chellie Pingree launched a dark money group that funneled more than a million dollars into negative ads against Senator Susan Collins.

That group, the 16 Counties Coalition, is the subject of a complaint to the IRS from the watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, or FACT. The complaint alleges the dark money outfit is acting as an arm of the Democratic Party, not as a non-profit engaging in activities for the public good.

As the Bangor Daily News reported last June, the 16 Counties Coalition, led by former Gideon spokesperson Chris Glynn, is exploiting a “dark money loophole” to attack Senator Susan Collins. Glynn left the organization late last year.

Read the full report from the Washington Free Beacon below:

https://freebeacon.com/politics/sara-gideon-raked-in-nearly-20000-from-lobbyists-before-pushing-new-anti-lobbyist-pledge/

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