Published Date Written by Staff ReportMichael G. Hein, 42, of Augusta was sentenced Tuesday following his plea of guilty to one count of willfully violating the Maine Clean Election Act, Attorney General William J. Schneider announced.
Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy sentenced Hein to seven days in jail, consistent with the state's recommendation and a plea agreement.
Hein, a former candidate for House District 57 (part of Augusta) had misrepresented to the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices that he had collected $5 contributions from 60 registered voters in his district in order to qualify for public campaign funds, Schneider reported. Fifteen of the contributors signing the forms in support of his application had not made the $5 contribution because they either refused or were not asked, the AG's office reported. Hein had personally collected the signatures submitted to the commission as "qualifying contributions."
The commission opened an investigation into Hein's application when a voter informed the commission staff that Hein had asked her to sign his form acknowledging receipt of her $5 qualifying contribution but had told her she did not have to pay the $5, Schneider said. Had the commission not uncovered Hein's misrepresentation, he would have qualified for $486 in public campaign funds for the primary election and $3,937 for the general election.
"The requirement that candidates gather a specified number of qualifying contributions ensures that they have sufficient support to warrant the disbursement of public funds," said Schneider. "Misrepresentations about qualifying contributions, whatever the amount, undermine the system of Clean Elections."
This case was investigated by Attorney General Schneider's Investigations Unit. Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin handled this matter for Attorney General Schneider's Criminal Division.