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The decision came just before the vote, and after casino proponents had run a dishonest campaign , full of misleading statements and accusations of questionable tactics that stretched back to the effort to place the question on the ballot. “It’s now clear they were being dishonest on their initial campaign-finance reports and their finances have been nothing but smoke and mirrors,” Louie Luchini, House chairman of the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, said at the time. “Beyond that, there are so many questionable players that were secretly involved in this, it’s pretty disturbing.” Mainers saw right through it, telling the campaign to take a hike, with a resounding 83 percent of voters saying no to the ballot question, which would have handed a valuable casino license to one man, Shawn Scott. As the first returns came in on election night, it was clear the nearly $9 million the campaign spent was for naught, and there still remained the $500,000 fine as an additional reminder that Maine voters won’t be bought, and they won’t be hoodwinked by hucksters from away. Too far away, as it turns out. When the ethics commission voted unanimously last week to cut the fine by 80 percent, members cited the offshore holdings of Lisa Scott, Shawn Scott’s sister, whose organizations acted as a funnel for all the international money flowing into the campaign. Settling with the campaign for the smaller amount made sense, commission members said, because it is unlikely the state would otherwise get anything from Lisa Scott, who lives in the Caribbean island of St. Kitts and has no assets in the United States. The commission may be correct, and its action on this case — and in past cases — has been exemplary. But lowering the fine reveals a flaw in Maine’s campaign finance rules. The regulations, it seems, only apply fully to people without the resources to avoid them.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/04/our-view-fine-for-casino-backers-shows-not-everyone-is-equal-under-the-law/
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