Bangor city staff found the Bangor Republican Party sent a mysterious postcard to many Bangor residents that endorsed three city council candidates and initially raised concerns that it violated Maine Election Law.
The postcard lists Susan Deane, Philip Henry and Carolyn Fish as the “preferred candidates for Bangor City Council,” but the mailing does not list reasons why they should be elected. The other side of the postcard reads “Help us take back our city!”
Deane, Henry and Fish are three of the eight candidates running for three available positions on the nine-person Bangor City Council this year. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The city previously worried the postcard may violate Maine Election Law because it does not include information on who paid for and approved the material.
“Generally, a mailing like this one should state the name and address of the person that made or financed the expenditure for the mailing,” Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Ethics Commission, said on Thursday. “Also, the mailing is supposed to say whether any candidate authorized the communication.”
Upon learning on Friday who created the mailer, Bangor City Clerk Lisa Goodwin said the postcard doesn’t legally need to disclose who paid for and approved it. However, not knowing who sent the postcard is what raised questions and concerns in the first place, she said.
“Because it was a party committee that made the mailer, the mailer is considered a ‘party candidate listing’ and is exempt from the definition of ‘expenditure’ so a disclosure statement was not legally required,” Goodwin said on Friday.
The three council candidates listed on the mailer — Henry, Deane and Fish — confirmed on Thursday that they were never asked to approve the mailer and didn’t know who created and issued it.
While the postcard wasn’t required to disclose who paid for and sent it, Wayne said on Friday the Maine Ethics Commission “always encourages” a party committee to state that information so people know who is responsible for it.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated which portion of the state statute applies in this scenario. It has been updated.