House member from Alfred could face criminal investigation for campaign spending

Rep. David Burns, R-Alfred, will appear before the Maine Ethics Commission later this month to answer questions about discrepancies in campaign spending during his 2010 campaign.

Item No.3 on the Nov. 30 agenda for the Maine Ethics Commission reads:

In 2010, David Richard Burns (Alfred) ran as a Maine Clean Election Act (MCEA) candidate and was elected as the State Representative for House District 138. He was selected for an audit through the Commission auditor’s random selection process. Rep. Burns was authorized to spend $9,066 in MCEA funds for the 2010 election cycle. The audit determined that Rep. Burns spent at least $2,500 of public funds for personal purposes and that expenditures totaling at least $1,295 were falsely reported in his campaign finance reports. In responding to the auditor’s request for documentation, Rep. Burns submitted cash register receipts that he later voluntarily admitted were fabricated.

Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends that the results of the audit be referred to the Office of the Maine Attorney General for consideration whether to initiate a criminal investigation; that the Commission make findings of violations; and that the Commission defer requiring the return of funds or the assessment of civil penalties pending a decision from the Attorney General to investigate or the conclusion of a criminal prosecution on matters arising out of the audit.