A top legislative Democrat called on a newly elected state representative from Waldoboro to resign after he was criminally indicted for allegedly submitting as many as 30 fraudulent signatures on forms used to qualify for a taxpayer-funded campaign program.
Rep. Clinton Collamore, D-Waldoboro, was indicted by a Lincoln County grand jury on Dec. 15 on 33 counts, including 20 felony charges of aggravated forgery. Matthew Toth of Sanford, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for House District 143, was indicted on Dec. 5. The indictments were made public in a Maine Ethics Commission memo on Tuesday.
“In light of these allegations, the Speaker of the House is requesting Rep. Collamore’s immediate resignation,” Mary-Erin Casale, a spokesperson for House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, said in a Tuesday statement.
It is the first case in more than a decade in which a sitting lawmaker has been charged with misconduct around Maine’s Clean Election system, which allows candidates to run for state office by collecting small-dollar donations that unlock larger sums of taxpayer money.
Collamore received more than $14,000 in funds before commission staff in the summer noticed a pattern in signatures on his forms that made them think he signed people’s names, according to a memo from staff at the ethics commission, which regulates campaign finance. Four so-called contributors told the commission that they did not sign for Collamore.
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At least 12 of Toth’s signatures were not genuine and three of the people identified as contributors to his campaign never donated, the commission found. Based on that, staff denied him Clean Election funding in April 2022. He later withdrew from the general election.
Collamore briefly picked up his phone on Tuesday, told a reporter that the call was breaking up and did not respond to further callbacks. In a text message, he directed questions to his lawyer, Richard Elliott of Boothbay Harbor, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Toth did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.
Collamore is a lobsterman who beat Republican Lynn Madison by 304 votes in the November election to represent a district spanning Knox and Lincoln counties. He is the former president of the machinists union at Bath Iron Works and was a longtime select board member in his town, according to a Lincoln County News story.
The last sitting lawmaker to be charged with Clean Election misconduct was then-Rep. David R. Burns, R-Alfred, who was sentenced to six months in prison in 2012 after commingling personal and public funds and producing false documents to show they had been used for campaigning.
Reached Tuesday, House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, said he respected Ross’ decision to call for Collamore’s resignation.
BDN writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.