Cianchette amends campaign fund reports

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AUGUSTA (AP) – Former Republican gubernatorial nominee Peter Cianchette has amended campaign finance reports from his 2002 Blaine House bid, listing previously unreported in-kind contributions from his family’s construction company.

In a letter sent to the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, Cianchette said he didn’t learn of Cianbro’s campaign efforts until after a complaint was made recently.

He said his campaign staff had only “nominal” involvement with Cianbro’s efforts.

“Notwithstanding that these violations were inadvertent, I accept responsibility for the campaign’s failure to better understand and report these expenditures,” he wrote.

The amended reports list $68,609 in in-kind contributions, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Cianbro has acknowledged that it helped Cianchette, whose father is a co-founder and board chairman of the company. The ethics commission is expected to take up the issue on April 28.

Ron Harwood, the former Cianbro supervisor who filed the complaint, told the Press Herald he was pleased that Cianchette had “‘fessed up” but that Cianbro’s political activities were so widespread that Cianchette and his campaign staff should have known about them.

“It was blatantly obvious to everybody in Cianbro that this was what was happening,” he said.

Alan Burton, vice president of human resources, safety and health for Cianbro, told the newspaper the company was reviewing its campaign practices.

“We believed that supporting Peter Cianchette was in the best interest of our team members, the community members and the state,” he said. “We acknowledge our actions in the matter and had no intentions of wrongdoing.”

In Maine’s 2002 general election for governor, Democrat John Baldacci garnered 238,179 votes for 47.1 percent of the total, besting Cianchette’s 209,496 votes, which measured 41.5 percent.

Green Independent candidate Jonathan Carter won 46,903 votes, for 9.3 percent, and independent John Michael received 10,612 votes, or 2.1 percent.

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