A Republican state representative filed a formal complaint Wednesday with the Maine Ethics Commission, calling for an investigation of Senate President Troy Jackson over his use of a second home in Augusta.

Jackson dismissed allegations that he did anything wrong and a spokesperson described the complaint as a partisan attack spearheaded by a right-wing website.

Senate President Troy Jackson Maine State Legislature

Rep. John Andrews, of Paris, is asking the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Practices to investigate allegations made by the Maine Wire, a conservative website affiliated with the right-leaning think tank, the Maine Policy Institute. The Wire posted an article last week about the Democrat’s purchase of a single-family home in Augusta in 2019 while representing a district in Aroostook County, questioning whether he violated the Legislature’s residency rules or falsely pledged to make the home his primary residence.

Andrews submitted a signed complaint Wednesday, triggering a review in the coming days about whether an investigation is warranted.

“These are serious allegations that must be addressed,” wrote Andrews, who serves on the Judiciary and Veterans and Legal Affairs committees. “The integrity of your offices demands that these matters be investigated fully. The link to the article is below and I thank you for your prompt professionalism in this matter.”

The mortgage for the property on file at the Kennebec County Registry of Deeds contains a clause that Jackson would occupy the home within 60 days of closing and use it as a “principal residence” for at least a year, unless that requirement was waived in writing by the lender or “extenuating circumstance outside (the borrower’s) control” prevented it.


It’s a standard disclosure on loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, which are easier to qualify for in terms of credit and offer lower closing costs and lower down payments for the borrower.

The Wire accused Jackson of either living outside of his district in violation of the Maine Constitution, and while claiming to live in Allagash on campaign finance forms and to seek travel reimbursements, or lying to his lender or insurance companies about his use of the home as his principal residence.


Jackson spokesperson Christine Kirby dismissed the attacks as politically motivated, noting that the Wire mentions Jackson as a possible Democratic candidate for governor. Kirby said Jackson has long complied with residency requirements and rules set by the ethics commission.

“This is nothing more than another tired, politically motivated attack on the Senate president,” Kirby said. “Rep. Andrew’s letter is a perfect example of that – a letter posted shortly after the rightwing blog post went live. The allegations are serious, offensive and not grounded in reality.”

Andrews cited the Wire story in an email requesting investigations by the Office of the Maine Attorney General and ethics staff last week. Andrews copied news outlets on his request.


Ethics commission staff, however, requested that he submit his complaint in the proper format and include additional details and specific violations before reviewing it.

Andrews filed the formal complaint Wednesday. He did not respond to requests to review the complaint.

The Maine Republican Party announced the formal complaint Wednesday in an email to supporters that included Andrews’ original letter to the commission and the attorney general. State party officials worked unsuccessfully to unseat Jackson last November, including by falsely accusing him of supporting the defund the police movement.

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Lisa Keim, R-Dixfield, said this week that the issue “demands legal scrutiny.”

Assistant Minority Leader Amy Arata, R-New Gloucester, said the allegations were “very serious” and if true “would be a grave violation of the Maine Constitution and the public trust. She said mortgage fraud is easy to disprove and called on Jackson to release additional documents that prove he intended to use the property as a second home.

“If he refuses to do so, then an investigation should be initiated with subpoenas of all documents related to the purchase,” Arata said.


Jonathan Wayne, the executive director of the ethics commission, declined to comment on the complaint on Wednesday, other than to say it now has the required signature, and that he had spoken to Andrews about his concerns.


Wayne had previously said staff would review the complaint to see whether it falls under the commission’s jurisdiction. If the mortgage complaint is considered to be within the commission’s jurisdiction, Wayne said staff would request a formal response from Jackson and bring the issue before the commission in either October or November.

The bipartisan ethics commission comprises five members the governor and legislative leaders appoint to three-year terms, including two Republicans, two Democrats and an independent.

The independent commission and its staff primarily administer campaign finance laws, the state’s clean elections program and lobbyist disclosures. But it also “issues advisory opinions and investigates legislative ethics,” according to its website.

Under state law, the commission can only consider complaints based on activities that occurred or were ongoing within two years of the complaint. Those complaints must contain specific allegations of campaign finance or ethics violations concerning conflicts of interest, undue influence, abuse of office or winning a contract with state government.


A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office confirmed receipt of Andrews’ letter and said it was currently under review.

To serve in the state Senate, the Maine Constitution says that one must be at least 25 years old, live in the state for at least a year, and reside in the district at least three months before the election and continue to live throughout the two-year term.

State law regarding residency differs from the requirements to receive an FHA-backed mortgage, however.

Emily Cook, a spokesperson for the Department of the Secretary of State, which oversees elections, said the agency uses the residency requirements for voters in determining a candidate’s eligibility to hold office. That law defines a residence as “that place where the person has established a fixed and principal home to which the person, whenever temporarily absent, intends to return.”

“Candidates must file consent forms declaring their place of residence (among other statutory and constitutional requirements for the office they seek) when they file to get on the ballot,” Cook said. “Because the consent form asks for the voting residence address of the candidate, the same definition for residence as above would apply.”

On the other hand, the FHA defines “principal residence” as “a property that will be occupied by the borrower for the majority of the year.”


According to records on file at the Kennebec County Registry of Deeds, Jackson and his partner purchased a single-family home in Augusta in September 2019 for $216,015. He sold the home in December 2021 for $323,000.

Jackson said he has held a leadership position in the Legislature for the last decade – a role he said requires his presence in Augusta the majority of the year. He’s responsible for setting agendas and running the chamber during the session, while helping to oversee the operations of the legislative staff. He is also heavily involved with budget negotiations.


Because he lives 300 miles and nearly five hours away, Jackson said he rented an apartment in Augusta for several years. Commuting on a daily basis was not practical and hotel rates could sometimes exceed his allowance, he said. He decided to purchase a home in 2019, after his rent was increased.

Jackson, who now rents an apartment in Augusta, said his mortgage broker told him he qualified for the FHA loan even though Allagash has always been his permanent residence, because he spent the majority of the year in Augusta.

“I paid him a lot of money,” Jackson said of his broker. “He filled out the forms and me and my wife signed them. This is unfortunate, but I never really read the forms. I was going off his interpretation.”


Jackson did not take other steps that would have indicated he was changing his permanent residency.

Jackson said he did not seek a Homestead exemption for the Augusta home, on which he paid about $20,000 in capital gains taxes when he sold it. And Augusta City Clerk Kelly Gooldrup said last week that Jackson did not register to vote or register his vehicle in the city, at least in the last two years for which the city had records.

Many lawmakers rent hotels rooms while working Augusta, but Jackson is not the first lawmaker to own a second home or rent an apartment in Augusta. Former longtime House Speaker John Martin, a Democrat who represented Eagle Lake in Aroostook County, also co-owned a home in Augusta with then Rep. Michael Michaud.

Jackson said his use of the home was no different than staying in a hotel or an apartment.

“My intention was always, and I said that to (my broker), that my residency was Allagash and will remain Allagash,” Jackson said. “I will die in Allagash hopefully, because that’s where my home is, and I’m going to keep it that way.”

Note: This story was updated Thurs. Sept. 7 to correct the price Jackson sold the home for in 2021.

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