Augusta, MAINE – In response to a Lewiston Sun Journal story revealing that the Maine Republican Party is behind the anonymous fake news website The Maine Examiner, Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett issued the following statement:
“The Maine Republican Party peddled misleading and inaccurate information, tried to hide behind the safety of anonymity, and then lied about it to the people of Maine – likely breaking the law. This proves that the Maine Democratic Party’s complaint is justified, and that the investigation we requested must move forward.
“By engaging in tactics like these, the Maine GOP has stooped to a new low, proving that they are willing to go to unprecedented levels to deceive people in order to accomplish their political goals. They should be ashamed.
“Every Republican leader in Maine – including the gubernatorial candidates – should condemn this dishonest behavior and tell the people of Maine that their party should not be led by liars like Jason Savage and Garrett Murch. We call on Republicans to ensure that Savage and Murch, along with their shameful behavior, no longer have a home in Maine politics.”
Yesterday, the Maine Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Maine Ethics Commission requesting that it launch an investigation into campaign finance violations by the Maine Examiner and the Maine Republican Party. The complaint alleges that the Maine Examiner, an anonymous website that pushes Republican propaganda posing as legitimate news, violated Maine campaign finance laws governing the use and reporting of independent expenditures by publishing fake news stories with the clear intent of defeating then-Lewiston mayoral candidate Ben Chin within the 35 days preceding the election. The complaint also requests that the Ethics Commission investigate whether the Maine Republican Party is affiliated with or has coordinated with the Maine Examiner.
In addition to peddling much of the misleading content created by the Maine Examiner, the Maine GOP regularly posts its own “News You Can Trust” videos intended to undermine the legitimacy of fair and balanced news outlets while also pushing their partisan perspective.