AUGUSTA — The head of Maine’s ethics commission on Tuesday released a list of 40 state lawmakers who may have missed deadlines to report changes in their incomes or the incomes of their spouses.

The commission does not plan to investigate or take any enforcement action, however.

Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, said it isn’t clear how many of those on the list violated the law because the panel’s staff has not followed up on each case. But, he said, a review of the required disclosure forms by the staff showed that a number of legislators are not aware of a state law that requires them to report changes in income or new jobs within 30 days.

“It is very likely that the list includes Legislators who are not in violation,” Wayne wrote in a message to media organizations.

Wayne said that after the review and notification of the lawmakers, the commission has decided not to investigate further at this point.

“Based on our conversations with Legislators concerning this matter, we believe that the failure to file 30-day updates was generally due to a lack of awareness of the requirement,” Wayne wrote. “We believe the public discussion of this issue last week will result in greater compliance in the future, as well as our efforts to educate Legislators about the requirement.”

The list of lawmakers was created by comparing year-end income information filed in 2015 and 2016 and finding income changes that had not been disclosed in midyear reports.

In all, the ethics commission staff notified 58 lawmakers that they may have violated the disclosure law, but only about 24 responded to the letter. Wayne said staff determined that 19 of the 24 who responded were not required to file updates and had not violated the disclosure requirements, part of a 2013 law change approved by the Legislature.

The remaining 40 were not necessarily being implicated of any wrongdoing. It’s not clear how many missed deadlines for reporting income changes.

Wayne provided the list to the media in response to Freedom of Access Act requests.

The ethics commission staff launched the review of income disclosures in response to allegations by the Maine Republican Party and some State House Republicans that Rep. Ryan Tipping, D-Orono, had accepted $9,000 in payments from a political action committee but failed to disclose that income to the commission within 30 days. Tipping admitted he did not make the disclosure in a timely fashion but said it was a simple oversight.

Wayne said at the time that it appeared other legislators were unaware of the reporting requirement for changes in incomes.

Tipping broke no laws in accepting the payment from the PAC, but Republicans have asked him to resign from his position as House chairman of the Legislature’s Taxation Committee, claiming he has a conflict of interest because he was paid to advocate for a tax increase when the Legislature was not in session.

House Republicans have also repeatedly called on House Speaker Sara Gideon to convene the House Ethics Committee to review Tipping’s involvement with the PAC, but Gideon has refused. Democrats, in the majority in the House, also voted down an attempt to force an ethics committee review under a House order.

The list released by Wayne on Tuesday included an even mix of lawmakers – 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans – who may have missed the 30-day disclosure deadline.

In October, Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport, convened the Senate’s Ethics Committee for the first time in 30 years to review allegations by Democrats against Sens. Ron Collins, R-Wells, and Andre Cushing, R-Newport.

Democrats had claimed that Collins illegally prepaid for legislative lodging expenses with campaign funds but subsequently expensed those costs to the Legislature.

The five-member panel voted 4-1 that Collins did not act unethically when he prepaid for lodging at the Senator Inn in Augusta with leftover funds from his privately financed campaign committee in 2014, and later requested and accepted a state per-diem allowance for housing for the same expense in 2015.

The committee also tabled action on Cushing after Democrats complained that he may have violated Maine’s campaign finance law by not accurately reporting the transfer of funds between a political action committee he maintains and other personal and business accounts.

The committee voted to table action on Cushing, noting an ongoing ethics commission investigation that is expected to take months. The inquiry into Cushing revolves around a complaint made by his sister, Laura Cushing McIntyre, and involves his handling of funds for his Respect Maine PAC.

McIntyre also sued Cushing, alleging that he misappropriated more than $1 million in funds from a family corporation, and that he improperly moved funds among his corporate, personal and PAC accounts. Cushing maintains he did nothing wrong, but has admitted he may have made a reporting error.

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