Maine House speaker calling on lawmaker to resign over alleged fraud

Jan. 24—A lawmaker in the House of Representatives is being asked to resign over allegations he violated Maine's Clean Election Act during his 2022 campaign.

Rep. Clinton E. Collamore, D-Waldoboro, was indicted last month on multiple counts of aggravated forgery, unsworn falsification and violations of the Clean Election Act, according to the Dec. 15 indictment filed in Lincoln County Superior Court.

Speaker of the House Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon through her spokesperson, Mary-Erin Casale, asking Collamore, 62, to step down.

"In light of these allegations, the speaker of the House is requesting Rep. Collamore's immediate resignation," the statement said. Casale said Ross would have no further comment on the matter.

The indictments came to light Tuesday when Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics, issued a memo to commission members on election misconduct allegations involving Collamore and Matthew Toth of Sanford, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for House District 143. Toth eventually withdrew from the November 2022 general election. Both matters are scheduled to be brought before the Maine Ethics Commission at its Jan. 30 meeting.

Wayne said that about 200 candidates for the Legislature participate in the Maine Clean Election Act program each election year. To qualify for public campaign funds, candidates must collect qualify contributions or QCs of $5 from at least 60 registered voters in their district and submit them to the commission's office by April 20 of the election year. The contributor must give $5 in the form of a check, cash or online payment and sign a form affirming they made a contribution with their personal funds. The contributor must sign the form.

During the course of their investigation, commission staff verified that Toth and Collamore forged several contributor signatures. Collamore received more than $14,000 in Maine Clean Election Act funds.

After identifying irregularities, the commission referred both cases to the Office of Attorney General for further investigation. The AG's office sought and obtained criminal indictments for both candidates, Wayne said.

This story will be updated.