Assistant Senate Majority Leader Andre Cushing, who earlier this year was fined $9,000 for violating the state’s campaign finance laws, is resigning his leadership position, citing family commitments and duties.

Cushing, a three-term Republican from Hampden, announced his decision Friday in a letter to colleagues. He is stepping down effective Wednesday but will continue to serve in the Maine Senate.

“As citizen legislators, we must carefully weigh the commitments and duties we have personally and to family against the responsibilities we must carry out in office. After much reflection, I feel at this time, I do not have the ability to continue the duties incumbent with a leadership role; therefore I feel it best to allow for the orderly transition to another to serve in this position,” he wrote.

Cushing was fined in August by the Maine ethics commission for violating the state’s campaign finance laws in 2016 by filing records of campaign contributions nearly five months late in his re-election campaign and by misreporting filings on a leadership political action committee that he heads.

It was one of the larger fines imposed by the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices but well below the panel’s top fine of $50,250, issued against the National Organization for Marriage in 2014.

The fines came after an investigation by the commission’s staff triggered by a complaint by Cushing’s sister, Laura Cushing McIntyre of Hermon. McIntyre also filed a lawsuit against Cushing, his wife and adult children alleging that Cushing transferred more than $1 million from a family business to his campaign and personal accounts. The lawsuit is still pending in Penobscot County Superior Court.

Senate Republicans will caucus to choose a replacement for Cushing. His replacement will be part of an entirely new Senate leadership roster for the party, as Senate President Mike Thibodeau of Winterport and Majority Leader Garrett Mason of Lisbon Falls have reached term limits and are both running for governor.

 

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