The Maine Wire has already exposed false Democratic mailers attacking Republican candidates while at the same time taking credit for their ideas. The latest mailer sent into District 32 (Bangor and Hermon), where former Bangor mayor Cary Weston is seeking to unseat first-term incumbent Geoffrey Gratwick, may well take the cake, however.
As they have attempted in the past, Democrats are trying to turn a Republican candidates’ perfectly acceptable business practices into an ethical mess. In so doing, they not only end up wrecking someone’s political reputation, but their business reputation as well – which hurts the Maine economy.
In his private life, Cary Weston works for Sutherland|Weston, a marketing and communications firm with more than a dozen employees. They’ve done some political work in the past, including for Republican candidates and for referendum campaigns. They’ve also worked for clients such as the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and the Cross Insurance Center, but Democrats seem not to have any problems with those.
This year, himself a candidate for State Senate, Weston has retained Sutherland|Weston for his campaign. As require by Maine elections laws, he’s reported all of these expenditures. Sutherland|Weston has done the same sort of work for Weston for Senate that they’ve done for other campaigns: they’ve helped with ad production and website design and maintenance (also reflected in the Ethics reports). The Democrats attacked him for this with the mailer below, authorized and paid for by the Maine Democratic Party:
Besides simply attacking a businessman for doing business, this mailer is riddled with inaccuracies. The Weston campaign is not, as indicated on the front of the mailer, sending checks directly Cary Weston himself. As can be seen from the results of a search at the Maine Ethics website, the payments were sent to the Sutherland|Weston firm, who did the work. Sutherland|Weston has more than a dozen employees, so it’s impossible to know exactly which of them worked on this particular account.
Moreover, it appears that the $15,000 figure isn’t remotely accurate. According to Ethics, the total of all payments from Weston for Senate to Sutherland|Weston was approximately $7,900, as you can see below:
Indeed, Weston’s total campaign expenditures for this cycle have been approximately $20,000, so it seems a little unlikely that $15,000 of that would be sent right to his firm. That doesn’t leave a lot of money for signs, mailers, or palm cards. It seems that whoever crafted the mailer may have pulled that number from Weston’s total expenditures in his last report, which was around $15,000.
The bottom line is, the Maine Democratic Party is attacking Cary Weston for doing business in Maine, creating jobs in his district, and following election laws. In other words, as he pointed out, they’re attacking him for being ethical. The chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, Ben Grant, owes Cary a personal apology for the falsehoods in the mailer above, and he needs to take steps to ensure that future mailers they send out don’t contain any more blatant lies.