On March 10, the ACLU of Maine filed a lawsuit on behalf of Dennis Bailey, who was recently fined by the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices for creating an anonymous blog about Eliot Cutler. Cutler was a leading independent candidate for Governor of Maine last year. He placed second, ahead of the Democratic nominee, and came close to winning. Here is the complaint, which is called Bailey v State of Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. It is filed in state Superior Court in Cumberland County.
Maine campaign finance laws require that a person who makes an “expenditure” advocating the election or defeat of a candidate must state his or her name and address. The law exempts newspapers, magazines, and broadcast media. Bailey spent $92 on his blog, and didn’t identify himself on his blog, so he was fined. The lawsuit argues that the law is unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1995 in McIntyre v Ohio Elections Commission that the First Amendment protects the distribution of campaign literature that does not include the name and address of the person who writes and distributes that literature. Thanks to Alex Hammer for this news.