Top House Democrat calls for GOP colleague’s resignation

AUGUSTA, Maine — House Minority Leader Emily Cain of Orono on Tuesday called for the resignation of Rep. David Burns, R-Alfred, over his violations of the state’s clean election law.

The Maine Ethics Commissions ruled in December that Burns committed a number of violations of the Clean Election Act during his 2010 campaign, including using campaign money for personal expenses and transferring campaign money into a personal bank account.

“The Clean Elections system is not an ATM for lawmakers and it shouldn’t be treated that way,” Cain said. “The system has been effective in keeping special interests out of elections and any abuse of it must be addressed swiftly.”

Although the ethics commission ruled nearly two months ago, Burns’ cased also was referred to the Maine Attorney General’s Office for a criminal investigation. That investigation is still pending.

House Speaker Robert Nutting of Oakland has declined to ask for Burns’ resignation and has said he would wait until the AG’s investigation before suggesting any action.

“If Burns was a member of my caucus, I would have asked him to resign immediately,” Cain said. “If he refuses to resign, we should convene the House Ethics Committee right away to consider the matter.”

The House Ethics Committee is made up of four Democrats and four Republicans and makes recommendations to the House on whether any action is warranted.