PORTLAND (AP) – The Casinos No! anti-casino group has asked the Maine Ethics Commission to examine the campaign finance reports filed by the political action committee seeking to bring a casino to Maine.

Roy Lenardson, campaign manager of Casinos No!, is questioning why the Think About It PAC has been reporting all its contributions and expenditures as “in kind.”

In Think About It’s campaign report for the period of Jan. 6 though March 31, it listed zero cash contributions and expenditures. However, it also listed $241,217 in in-kind contributions and an equal amount in in-kind expenditures for things ranging from postage to legal services.

“The fact is, we don’t know why Think About It has resorted to this curious form of campaign accounting,” Lenardson wrote in a letter to Ethics Commission Director Jonathan Wayne. “Given that the group has just paid more than $200,000 for two week’s worth of television advertising a full six months before the election, a careful examination of who is funding this campaign and how the money is accounted for appears warranted.”

Erin Lehane, spokeswoman for Think About It, said Casinos No! is attempting to “distract the voters of Maine from the real issues: job creation and economic development.”

Even though the contributions and expenditures are listed as in kind, the report lists the contributors’ names, descriptions of what good and services were donated, and the fair market value of those contributions, Lehane said.

All the contributions on the report came from two sources: Thomas Tureen, a Portland lawyer who helped launch the Foxwoods Casino project in Connecticut, and Marnell Corrao Associates, a Las Vegas-based casino developer that is providing architectural and design assistance to the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes.

A referendum vote is scheduled for November on whether to allow Maine’s Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Indian tribes to build a $650 million casino and resort in southern Maine.

AP-ES-05-21-03 1841EDT

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