Sometimes the wheels of justice turn slowly, but in the case of U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, they would not have started turning at all had it not been for a Watchdog report from 2010. The investigation exposed an egregious case of influence-buying by Pingree, and now, five years later, the Federal Election Commission has finally ordered her to make amends for violating campaign finance law.
A Note From Our President
Our Watchdog reporters have written many stories over the years that triggered immediate action, but sometimes the impact of our work to hold government accountable isn't seen right away.
This was the case recently with a Watchdog story from 2010 that resulted in a nearly $23,000 federal fine against a leading campaign finance reform advocate caught in a stunning act of hypocrisy. It started when Watchdog exposed Congresswoman Chellie Pingree catching luxury flights in her billionaire boyfriend's corporate jet, even as she railed against such abuses and attacked members of Congress for acting like "the fat cats of Wall Street." Now, five years later, the FEC has ordered Pingree - former president and CEO of the campaign finance reform advocacy group Common Cause - to pay for the flights and slapped her with a fine for violating the very campaign finance laws she supports.
Investigative journalism is often a long, arduous process, but this story is one of those encouraging reminders that we must always be vigilant in holding our elected officials accountable.