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Maine House speaker calls on legislature to resign over fraud allegations

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The Speaker of the Maine House is calling for a state representative to resign over allegations that he violated Maine’s Clean Election Act during his 2022 campaign.

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

Representative Clinton Collamore

House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, has asked Collamore, 62, to resign.

“In light of these allegations, the Speaker of the House requests that Representative Collamore resign immediately,” said a statement Tuesday afternoon from Talbot Ross spokesperson Mary-Erin Casale. Casale said Talbot Ross would have no further comment on the matter.

Collamore’s 42-page indictment alleges he committed 20 counts of serious counterfeiting, a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine; 11 cases of unsworn forgery (class D); and one count of violating Maine’s Clean Election Act (Class E).

Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics, released a memo Tuesday informing members of the commission about allegations of election misconduct against Collamore and Matthew Toth of Sanford, a failed Republican candidate for House District 143. Toth eventually withdrew from the November 2022 general election after being denied clean election monies. Both matters are scheduled to be presented to the Maine Ethics Commission at its Jan. 30 meeting.

About 200 legislative candidates receive Clean Election Act funding each election year, Wayne said. To qualify, candidates must collect qualifying contributions or QCs of $5 each from at least 60 registered voters in their district and submit them to the committee’s office by April 20 of the election year. A contributor must give $5 and sign a form confirming that their contribution is from personal funds.

Commission officials determined that Collamore had forged several contributors’ signatures. He received more than $14,000 in Maine Clean Election Act funds.

“Staff re-examined the forms and identified more than 30 contributors whose signatures did not appear genuine. Our view was that the nominee had signed on for the contributors,” Wayne wrote in his memo to the committee.

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The commission referred both cases to the Attorney General’s Office for further investigation. The AG’s office has obtained criminal charges for both candidates, Wayne said. The charges against Toth were filed on December 5, 2022. Toth could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Attempts to reach Collamore Tuesday were also unsuccessful. He did not answer his cell phone or respond to an email message, and a message left at his attorney’s office in Boothbay Harbor was not returned.

Collamore won the House District 45 seat in November by a narrow margin over Republican challenger Lynn Madison. District 45 includes Waldoboro, Bremen, and Louds Island in Lincoln County and the towns of Friendship and Washington in Knox County.

The Lincoln County Democrats described Collamore, in a profile posted after he announced he was running, as a fourth-generation lobsterman, a graduate of Medomak Valley High School and a graduate of the University of Maine Augusta, where he a bachelor’s degree in public administration. He spent 20 years as a machinist at Bath Iron Works and was president of the shipyard’s machinists’ union. He is also a fisherman and served as a Waldoboro selectman for over 18 years.

According to state lobster licenses, Collamore is the captain of ‘Just Right’, an 11-meter boat in Bremen. In 2019, he landed 15,975 pounds of lobster.

Former Representative David R. Burns, a Republican from Alfred, was indicted in 2012 on forgery and robbery charges after winning the 138 House District seat. According to the indictment, he diverted more than $1,000 in public campaign funds to pay for personal expenses and then filed false campaign finance reports.

Burns was sentenced to six months in prison in June 2012 after pleading guilty to forgery and theft in connection with his 2010 election campaign. Burns represented House District 138 for just over a year before resigning his seat.

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