AUGUSTA (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Maine Republican Party Executive Director Jason Savage is the sole owner of the Maine Examiner, an anonymous website Democrats previously criticized for slander, according to an attorney representing Savage and the website.
In a letter sent on Monday to the Maine Commission of Governmental Ethics, attorneys representing Savage say he purchased the Maine Examiner from GoDaddy.com in September 2017. The letter states Savage is the sole author and contributor to the website and runs the website in his free time.
"Mr. Savage creates web postings for the Maine Examiner on his own free time and does not utilize Maine Republican Party resources," it said. "There was no coordination, consultation or cooperation between the Maine Examiner and any political party or any candidate regarding the seven postings between December 3, 2017 and December 14, 2017 related to Ben Chin."
NEWS CENTER Maine previously asked Savage via text message if he played any role in the Maine Examiner website. At the time, he neither confirmed nor denied the allegations. He stood behind GOP party statements and eventually stopped responding to our messages.
Savage's attorneys claim the website falls within the requirements for press exemption because the letter at hand makes the Maine Examiner's ownership public, and the website is not owned or controlled by a political party, PAC, BQC or candidate.
"Finally, the Maine Examiner clearly satisfies the requirement of publishing news stories, commentaries or editorials on a variety of topics and continues to do so to the present day," the letter reads. "The Maine Examiner meets the regulatory criteria set forth in the Commission’s rules and is therefore entitled to claim the press exemption."
Democrats are calling the revelations a "sad, last-ditch Hail Mary to bail themselves out."
"There aren't any ifs, ands, or buts about it: Jason Savage is the heart of the Maine Republican Party, and he created this misleading content with the singular goal of using his party’s apparatus to amplify it," Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett wrote in a press release. "He did so deceitfully, under the cloak of secrecy, and with the intent to mislead Maine people."
"What Savage did was wrong, and he owes the people of Maine nothing short of an apology," he said. Bartlett also called for Savage to resign.
The Maine Examiner "made no expenditures in connection with the news stories concerning Ben Chin," Savage's attorneys say. The total cost of operations, which is the cost of the domain name, is $74.00, they said.
NEWS CENTER Maine reached out to Savage for comment but did not immediately hear back. We'll update this story with any further statements.