The Campaign for Maine, the political action committee supporting Eliot Cutler, received $50,000 in contributions from major, out-of-state Republican donors in its most recent campaign finance report. The donors, James and Marilyn Hebenstreit of Kansas, also contributed the maximum amount to Eliot Cutler’s campaign in September.
The report, filed on Oct. 23 and covering the period of Oct. 1-21, shows that nearly 60 percent of Cutler PAC’s new fundraising come from these two donors. The Hebenstreits are long-time donors to Tea Party Republicans across the country, contributing more than $536,000 to the GOP’s most conservative politicians and special interest groups. This includes $50,000 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) with their most recent donation of $25,000 in June, $96,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and $65,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).
“The fact that Republicans are actively boosting Eliot Cutler to re-elect Paul LePage is the worst kept secret in Maine politics,” said Ben Grant, chairman of the Maine Democratic Party. “As the race remains tight between Mike Michaud and Paul LePage, the GOP is desperate to prop up Eliot Cutler’s campaign. Mainers need to know why Eliot Cutler is accepting financial support from people who only back some of the most extreme politicians in the country, including those who are against equality and the progressive values he says he stands for.”
The Hebenstreits have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting extreme right-wing candidates, like House Speaker John Boehner and Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, considered one of the most anti-gay members of Congress. According to public records dating back to the 1990’s, the Hebenstreits have only donated to extreme, conservative Republicans and have never donated to a Democratic or independent candidate until giving the max donation to Eliot Cutler’s candidacy in September.
“This is exactly the kind of underhanded campaign tactic that Mr. Cutler allegedly disapproves of,” continued Grant. “He says he doesn’t accept money from PACs or special interest groups – but it’s simply not true. The biggest special interest investing in Mr. Cutler right now is the right wing of the Republican Party. After lecturing Maine about being ‘unbought,’ it would be the ultimate irony if he ended up bought by Paul LePage.