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Video highlights Sara Gideon’s corporate PAC contradictions with voices of her opponents

Screenshot of a newly released video of Speaker Sara Gideon’s U.S. Senate opponents criticizing her for taking donations from corporate PACs.

AUGUSTA – Speaker Sara Gideon’s claims that she is refusing corporate PAC contributions despite ample evidence to the contrary is coming under fire from all sides in a new video. The video, released by the Collins for Senator campaign, includes video from two of Gideon’s Democrat primary opponents talking about Gideon’s claims.

As has been previously covered, Gideon is claiming she is not accepting corporate PAC contributions in the campaign. That claim isn’t cutting it for her opponents, who have repeatedly pointed out that Gideon is accepting leadership PAC contributions. Those PAC contributions are funded largely by corporate PAC contributions.

“Because honestly, if you take money from Chuck Schumer’s PAC, you are taking corporate PAC money,” says Betsy Sweet, one of Gideon’s opponents in the video. Sweet appears to have been speaking to a group at an event when the comments were recorded. “Just because it went through the washing machine doesn’t mean it’s not the same piece of clothing.”

Bre Kidman, a lawyer from Portland, is even more direct in the video.

“I think it’s hypocritical for anyone who says they’re against corporate money to take money from PACs that take money from corporate PACs,” says Kidman.

The video closes with 2 item checklist:

“Sara Gideon:

-Took corporate PAC money

-Still takes corporate PAC money”

Gideon’s history of accepting money from large corporations is well documented. A report by Maine Examiner last year showed how Gideon essentially built her political career in Maine on corporate contributions to her leadership PAC. Many of the very corporations Democrats rail against for their supposed influence in politics funded Gideon’s leadership PAC.

Corporations that donated to Gideon’s leadership PAC as she rose to her current position included Merck, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Eli Lilly, AT&T and American Express, among others. Energy companies, such as natural gas suppliers, pharmaceutical corporations and telecom companies appear with regularity on Gideon’s PAC donation reports.

Gideon’s leadership PAC is also central to the multiple violations of state and federal campaign finance law that have swirled around Gideon in recent months. Gideon was fined by the Maine Ethics Commission for a straw donor scheme that, when exposed, showed her funneling corporate money into federal elections.

By making federal contributions in her own name and then personally reimbursing herself from the PAC, Gideon admittedly broke federal campaign finance law and then was fined by the Maine Ethics Commission for violating state law as well. The complaint before the Federal Elections Commission against Gideon has yet to be taken up.

Those issues are separate from the more recent issues Gideon faces. In television ads and in speeches, Gideon claims she is not taking corporate PAC money. In reality, she is accepting funds given by corporations, but through more friendly “Leadership PACs.”

Spokespeople for Senator Susan Collins and Gideon’s opponents have all pointed to those contributions as evidence Gideon is not being honest about her claims. Still, Gideon continues on claiming she is not accepting them, no matter what the campaign finance records her campaign files with the FEC say.

Speaker Gideon was also recently shown to have taken nearly $20,000 in contributions from Washington D.C. lobbyists in the months leading up to her recent anti-lobbyist pledge. That story has been covered at Maine Examiner and the Washington Free Beacon, but there has been little coverage across most of the Maine media.

Watch the video below:

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