Hein, who is running for District 57, a part of Augusta currently represented by Democrat Rep. Maeghan Maloney, has attempted to run as a “clean elections” candidate. In order to qualify for public money to run his campaign, Hein was required to gather 60 signatures and 5 dollar checks.
In the process of collecting and submitting signatures and qualifying checks, Hein “did intentionally create or reinforce the impression that he obtained qualifying contributions,” that would have garnered him public funds for his campaign.
The criminal complaint against Hein charges that he attempted to obtain campaign finance funds with a value in excess of $1,000, “as a result of deception.” The initial payout he would have received if he qualified would have been $1,429 for the primary race and $3,937 for the general election. Hein is involved in a contested primary.
The Maine Ethics Commission released a “Staff Determination” on May 16 denying Hein’s request to be funded by public money, in part because he “encouraged 13 individuals to make false acknowledgements on the forms by signing their names, and you later submitted the forms containing the false statements to the commission as part of your request for MCEA funding.”
“The submission of of fraudulent qualifying contributions, in itself,” the commissions letter continues, “is a sufficient reason to make you ineligible to receive MCEA funding in the 2012 elections.”
According to the Ethics Commission, Hein had turned in the necessary 60 signatures and $5 contribution checks, but a follow-up investigation by the Ethics Commission and detectives at the Office of the Attorney General found that at least 13 of the individuals who signed the “Receipt and Acknowledgement” forms as “contributors” did not actually contribute a check.
Interviews of the 13 individuals in question by the Attorney General’s office and the Ethics Commission determined they were encouraged to sign the forms by Hein, but some signers were told by Hein they did not need to contribute money. In some cases, signers asked Hein if they needed to contribute, and he told them no, or to contribute it instead to their church.
Hein was formerly employed by the Maine Christian Civic League. Hein was let go in 2011 by the current director and at the time charged the league with discrimination. Carroll Conley, the director who fired Hein, said he let him go because of “obvious philosophical differences” and Hein’s “unhealthy attitude toward women.”
According to the Maine Ethics Commission, Hein will have an opportunity to appeal the decision to deny him public campaign funds.