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Far too typically in politics, a celebration will shut ranks round an embattled member no matter how obvious their transgression or alleged transgression could also be. Look no additional than Republican U.S. Rep. George Santos of New York hanging on in Congress, regardless of having lied about just about the whole lot.
Fortunately, Maine Home Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross isn’t following this shameful development of creating excuses and searching the opposite method. Quite the opposite, Talbot Ross has proven management by calling for the resignation of a member of her personal social gathering.
Rep. Clinton Collamore, a Democrat from Waldoboro, has been accused of submitting as many as 30 fraudulent signatures on varieties used to qualify for the Maine Clear Election program. He was indicted in mid-December on 33 counts, which embrace 20 felony prices of aggravated forgery.
Underneath the Maine Clear Election Act, Maine Home candidates who obtain no less than 60 checks of $5 from registered Maine voters of their district can qualify for public marketing campaign funds. Maine Ethics Fee workers defined in a current memo how they got here to imagine that Collamore was really the one who signed some contributor varieties.
“The workers re-examined the varieties and recognized greater than 30 contributors whose signatures didn’t appear real. Our opinion was that the candidate had signed for the contributors,” Ethics Fee Govt Director Jonathan Wayne wrote within the Jan. 23 memo. “We tried to interview a few of them. 4 contributors reviewed the varieties Mr. Collamore had submitted to our workplace and confirmed that they didn’t signal the varieties.”
Collamore isn’t alone in going through allegations of false clear election signatures. Republican Matthew Toth of Sanford additionally has been indicted on a number of prices associated to false signatures. However Toth’s Home candidacy was unsuccessful. So of those two not too long ago accused people, Collamore is the one one serving — no less than nominally — within the Legislature. He shouldn’t be for very lengthy.
“In mild of those allegations, the Speaker of the Home is requesting Rep. Collamore’s rapid resignation,” Mary Erin Casale, a spokesperson for Talbot Ross’ workplace, mentioned in a current assertion. “As that is an ongoing authorized matter, there shall be no additional remark.”
Notably, Collamore didn’t attend a Wednesday orientation assembly for the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, regardless of being a member of that committee.
“I don’t assume he’s displaying up,” committee co-chair and fellow Democrat Scott Landry mentioned.
As of noon Friday, the Maine Home clerk had not acquired a resignation from Collamore. The Waldoboro lawmaker had informed a Maine TV station earlier within the week that he can be consulting with this lawyer about subsequent steps, and has referred a number of information retailers, together with the Bangor Day by day Information, to that lawyer.
Whereas we wait to listen to extra from Collamore or his lawyer, we now have recommendation for him. Collamore ought to resign, and provides his district an opportunity to elect somebody who shall be current in representing them, and never shrouded in a scandal of alleged forgery involving publicly financed marketing campaign funds.
Collamore is harmless till confirmed responsible, and he has a proper to defend himself in courtroom. However his constituents additionally deserve energetic and efficient illustration in Augusta.
After all, no two circumstances or units of allegations are the identical. We should always all watch out about false equivalencies. However we additionally have to be cautious about permitting highly effective individuals to flee penalties. Throughout the nation, it’s time to draw the road — as Talbot Ross has executed — to clarify fundamental requirements for elected officers. And when somebody falls wanting these requirements, there ought to be penalties.