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Jon Bartholomew

Dirty Elections

The agenda for the March 26th meeting of the Maine Ethics Commission contains some interesting follow-up on two candidates who had previously been accused of defrauding the clean elections fund.

The Attorney General's office reports to the commission that 2006 candidate Debra Reagan and 2008 candidate Bruce Ladd, both York-County Republicans, have been convicted and sent to jail for their crimes.

Reagan had failed to pay back $3,390 at the time of her prosecution and was eventually sentenced to 30 days in jail and forced to make full restitution.

Ladd was indicted for two counts of forgery on his clean election forms. He has since plead guilty and agreed to serve two months in jail. He was never certified as a clean elections candidate and dropped out of the District 133 race in July.

While these successful prosecutions may have strengthened the clean elections process in Maine, recent cutbacks at Common Cause, a national organization supporting government accountability, may have weakened the campaign dedicated to maintaining and strengthening publicly-funded elections in the state.

Jon Bartholomew, the Maine Common Cause representative and a board member of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections (and a blogger) was one of the ones let go. Announcing his employment change on facebook, Bartholomew wonders if anyone is looking to hire a "relatively smart guy with a masters in public administration, lots of organizing experience, and a lot of flexibility."