Augusta, MAINE – Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett issued the following statement this evening in response to the news that Senator Susan Collins intends to bring Maine Republican Party Chairwoman Demi Kouzounas – who is currently embroiled in controversy for her party’s connections to the Maine Examiner – as her guest to the State of the Union address tomorrow:

“It almost defies belief that running a sham news website to mislead and deceive the people of Maine would earn someone an invitation to the State of the Union – but I guess that’s just the state of the Republican Party under Donald Trump.

"If Senator Collins, who likes to prides herself on integrity, is going to bring Chair Kouzounas to the State of the Union, then we call on her to tell the people of Maine whether or not she rejects the dishonest and devious tactics that the Maine GOP engaged in through the Maine Examiner.”

Several news reports have uncovered the close relationship that the Maine Republican Party appears to have with the Maine Examiner, despite the spokesman for the Maine GOP, Garrett Murch, saying that he is does not know who operates the website.

In recent days, news reports have uncovered deepening ties between the Maine Republican Party – specifically Executive Director Jason Savage – and the Maine Examiner, noting that an electronic error log on the Maine Examiner website appears to show that Savage also owns or controls the hosting account responsible for the website. Late last Friday night, Chair Demi Kouzounas questionably declared that the Maine GOP was not linked to the website but failed to address any questions surrounding the digital fingerprints linking Savage to the Examiner.