AUGUSTA – The Maine Ethics Commission voted Wednesday to fine Democratic gubernatorial candidate Diane Russell $300 for failing to file timely and complete campaign finance reports.

Diane Russell

Ethics commission staff had found earlier this month that Russell didn’t provide enough detail on campaign expenditures she listed only as “travel,” “meals” or other expenses. Staff had also raised concerns that Russell failed to note that a campaign worker, who was paid $12,368, was living at her Portland address, even though state law requires disclosure if any payee is a member of their household. Additionally, Russell failed to file an amended return that was requested by the staff.

The commission staff had not recommended a fine against Russell because the law does not prescribe penalties for such violations. But commission members opted to assess a $300 fine against Russell — a progressive activist and grassroots organizer who represented Portland in the Maine House for eight years — in part because she effectively filed late by not submitting complete reports, commission executive director Jonathan Wayne said.

Russell is one of seven Democrats seeking the party’s nomination for governor on June 12. In her most recent campaign finance reports, filed on May 1, she reported raising $67,468 for the privately financed campaign but also $77,432 in unpaid debts.

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