The Executive Director of the Maine Republican Party has admitted he created, runs and writes articles for a pro-Republican anonymous website that has come under fire from state Democrats.
Attorneys for Jason Savage wrote to the Maine Commission of Governmental Ethics to say he operates the Maine Examiner “on his own free time and does not utilize Maine Republican Party resources,” Maine News Center reported Friday.
The letter asserted that the website was a proper news site and not subject to state campaign finance disclosure laws, as state Democrats have alleged. Last month, the Democrats filed a complaint with the ethics commission saying the site slandered their unsuccessful mayoral candidate without disclosing its ties to the Republican Party.
The commission will meet Thursday and decide whether to open a formal investigation into the allegations.
The site describes itself as run by “a small group of Mainers who simply publish Maine news, trends, and interesting pieces about you, the people of Maine.” Metadata directly linked Savage to the site.
As TPM previously reported, a number of political entities, such as the reelection campaign for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), have started websites that resemble local news sites, sometimes without disclosing who they are. Government transparency experts say they can easily mislead readers who are unaware who is funding or promoting the stories being put in front of them.