Maine’s 1st District U.S. congresswoman, Democrat Chellie Pingree, has twice missed a deadline to file a disclosure of her personal finances for 2014 with the clerk of the U.S. House.

Pingree sought and was granted an extension to the May 15 deadline in April, but she missed her new Aug. 15 deadline and is one of nine members of the U.S. House who have failed to file the reports, which are due each year.

The delay has drawn a sharp rebuke from Pingree’s Republican rivals in Maine, despite the fact that five of the other nine late House members are Republicans.

The disclosures show how much money members of Congress, both House and Senate, make from private sources outside their congressional salaries and reimbursements.

The reports are meant to show constituents whether their federal lawmakers have personal financial interests in legislation and whether any of their votes may be influenced by their incomes or wealth.

While the reports stop short of disclosing to the penny how much lawmakers make from investments or the sale of assets such as real estate, they do show ranges of income and asset values.


They also show ranges of income and asset values for direct family members, including spouses and children. 

Since marrying wealthy businessman S. Donald Sussman in 2011, Pingree has yet to meet the May 15 deadline set by the House Ethics Committee and has requested filing extensions in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. 

Sussman was the majority owner of Maine Today Media, the umbrella company that owns the Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal and the Waterville Sentinel newspapers, until June when he sold controlling interests in the company to Reade Brower for an undisclosed sum.

Maine’s other members of Congress — Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent, and 2nd District Congressman Bruce Poliquin, also a Republican — all met the filing deadline for 2015.

Some political observers have speculated that Pingree is delaying the release of her and Sussman’s finances for as long as possible to postpone attacks by political rivals related to their wealth.

Earlier this year, Pingree paid a $9,750 fine to the Federal Elections Commission for using Sussman’s private jet on two trips during her 2010 re-election campaign without reporting the costs as a gift or donation to the campaign.


The FEC probe and subsequent fine came after the Maine Republican Party filed a complaint in 2010 with the agency, which oversees federal campaign election law. 

Willy Ritch, a spokesman for Pingree, said Friday that the congresswoman’s request for an extension on the financial disclosure was not unusual for members of Congress and that he expected the report to be filed by the end of next week.

“It’s just taking her a little extra time to get the paperwork done,” Ritch said. “It’s really just like getting an extension from your professor on a term paper and then getting another extension.”

But Pingree’s political rivals, including Jason Savage, a spokesman for the Maine Republican Party, which has attacked Pingree for the late filing, didn’t see it that way.

“He just equated one of Maine’s two sitting congressional representatives to a college student who can’t get a term paper in on time,” Savage said. 

He said the disclosures are meant to make government more transparent, an ideal Pingree has advocated for vigorously in the past.


“The time for excuses is over, the people of Maine expect and deserve better,” Savage said. “With the army of staff and people at their disposal with this level of wealth, there is no excuse for not filing. She’s flaunting the laws and requirements of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Maine people expect transparency in their government.”

“It’s really just like getting an extension from your professor on a term paper and then getting another extension.”

Willy Ritch, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.