AUGUSTA (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Maine Democrats are calling for an investigation into suspicions that the state Republican Party is working with a website to deceive voters with fake news.
The concerns are laid out in a complaint filed Tuesday with the Maine Ethics Commission.
The Maine Democratic Party questioned the veracity of stories published by the Maine Examiner website, specifically its coverage of the recent Lewiston mayoral race. Ben Chin was the Democrats' candidate. Democrats said his campaign may have been hurt by a stream of misinformation spread by the Maine Examiner with support from the Republican Party.
Democrats claim the website and GOP frequently release similar information at almost the same time, suggesting a level of coordination. The Republican Party also took criticism for sharing Examiner stories that Democrats considered to be misleading or untrue.
Those allegations formed the basis of the Democrats' ethics complaint that the Examiner violated campaign finance laws. Democrats also request for the investigation to lay bare any relationship that may exist between the website and GOP.
Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett said in a written statement, "The Maine GOP should be upfront with the people of Maine and tell them whether or not they are purposefully using this bogus website to advance their partisan agenda.”
NEWS CENTER Maine asked the Republican Party for its reaction, but no response was provided as of the time this story was written.