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King Campaign Threatens to Sue Maine TV Stations
09/24/2012   Reported By: Tom Porter

Independent Senate candidate Angus King has said a lot recently about being the victim of negative advertising, pointing out that nearly $2 million has been spent trying to undermine his political support. The latest round of TV ads though has prompted the King campaign to say 'enough is enough.'

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"We have filed a letter with all of the TV stations broadcasting the ads, authorized and paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, calling for those ads to be pulled. They are based on spurious claims that have been investigated independently by the portland press herald and found to be false," said campaign manager Kay Rand at a press conference in Portland, which King did not attend.

The King campaign threatened legal action unless the latest ads are taken off the air.

Among other things, the ads accuse King of benefiting from a federal loan guarantee to invest in wind power projects - and of profiting from the Record Hill Wind Farm in western Maine to the tune of millions of dollars. Rand said both claims are false.

"Angus transferred his ownership in the Record Hill wind project 8 months prior to the receipt of the federal loan guarantee, and we have filed financial disclosures which show that netted $212,000 after 5 years of work on the Record Hill wind project," Rand said.

In addition to the letter, Rand said King campaign workers will be placing followup calls to TV station managers in Portland, Bangor and Presque Isle. She said TV stations are bound under the terms of their license to protect the public from false, misleading or deceptive advertising.

"Legal action will be considerd if the ads aren't pulled," she said.

Calls to WMTW in Portland, WABI in Bangor, and WAGM in Presque Isle were not returned when this story was published. Station managers at NBC affiliate WCSH6 and CBS's WGME13, which both broadcast to the Portland market, told MPBN the situation was under review.

Whether the ads are pulled or not, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is sticking to its guns. In a written statement, spokesman Brian Walsh maintains that the ads are accurate and calls on King to release all of his emails, records and contracts regarding the Record Hill Wind project.

Meanwhile, King's Democratic opponent Cynthia Dill has issued her own plea for greater transparency in a letter dispatched Monday morning to King and Republican Charlie Summers.

"What I requested was that each of us agree to release 10 years of tax returns to a trusted 3rd person, and once this 3rd party had all of them, they would be made available to the public," Dill said.

Senate candidates already have to submit financial disclosure information, but Dill said this information is not presented in any organized fashion that's recognizable to what she calls "regular people."

"And I think tax returns is just something we're all familiar with, it's something we file as a matter of course, we sign under oath," she said.

With an influx of out-of-state money and allegations of false advertiSing, Dill said nothing about this election so far has been normal.

"I think there's a lot of confusion and murkiness that's really making it difficult for Maine people to know the truth about the elction, the issues and the people, so this is just a clear cut, simple and straightforward way for us as candidates to cut through the negative advertising and the out-of-state money and get to the facts," she said.

A statement from GOP candidate Charlie Summers said he "welcomes the opportunity" and goes onto say that his campaign workers are "gathering all the necessary information and look forward to Governor King being fully transparent with Mainers."

It's unclear what the Angus King camp makes of Dill's proposal. A campaign spokeswoman said the former governor is travelingout-of-state.

Rand also pointed out that there was "significant information" already released in his financial disclosures for the Senate.

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