The story in question has been updated this afternoon to include reference to the report’s detailing of Sussman’s hundreds of thousands in contributions.
Mistler also notes that Sussman is a “large contributor” to Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, the organization that publishes the report. MCCE is a non-profit and does not have to release donors names or amounts of donations.
It’s a strange position for Sussman and MCCE to be in. Sussman donates “large” amounts to a group that supposedly wants to limit the influence of money in politics, yet he is the largest single political contributor in the state, 7 or 8 times over.
Steve Mistler, a political reporter over at Maine Today Media just published a story on the “report” from Maine Citizens for Clean Elections that “$12 million in PAC money” has been used to “distort Maine politics.”
The report from MCCE details the various legislative Political Action Committee’s (PAC’s) and the donors that give to them. This isn’t a new concept, in fact the MaineWire had a story on the subject months ago.
What is interesting is that one of the highlights of the report has so far been ignored by Mistler and the Donald Sussman-owned Press Herald.
The report goes to great lengths to bemoan so-called “heavy hitter” donors, saying that 150 donors comprised 73% of PAC donations in the last ten years. Mistler repeats this fact in his story.
What Mistler doesn’t tell you is that the heaviest of the “heavy hitters” – as highlighted several times in the report, is his boss, and Press Herald owner Donald Sussman, who handed out $379,000 in just ten years to PAC’s.
This means, according to MCCE, and the headline that Mistler parroted, that Sussman is the biggest “distorter” of Maine politics out there.
It will be interesting to see if Mistler and the Press Herald decide to report on Sussman’s prominent role in PAC contributions highlighted in this report.