State may have paid millions to unemployed who never looked for work

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While Gov. Paul LePage and the legislature focus on welfare fraud, four straight audits have warned the state that it may be improperly paying hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment checks to people who are not providing the required proof they are looking for work. Continue Reading →

History shows LePage faces uphill battle to change state constitution

Title page of the Maine Constitution

Gov. Paul LePage is considering legislation to amend the state constitution, but history shows that is an uphill battle. Of the approximately 1,200 amendments proposed, only 172 have been approved by the legislature and voters and been enshrined in the constitution, according to records at the Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library. Continue Reading →

Memo: LePage inserted himself in religious discrimination case against Moody’s Diner

Gov. Paul LePage — Photo Robert F. Bukaty, BDN

Gov. Paul LePage inserted himself into a state law enforcement proceeding about a religious discrimination case and threatened to go to court if the legal process was not postponed, according to an internal memo.

The governor, however, said he was not interfering, but only trying to make sure there was no “ethical breach” in the case involving an audio recording he had been told was edited. Continue Reading →

Time Warner made its case to legislators at luxury resort

The dining room at the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth

Time Warner, the state's largest internet provider, has wined and dined legislators at the opening of this year's session in hopes of thwarting legislation that would make it easier for cities and towns who want faster internet connections to become broadband providers themselves. The wining and dining was done at an overnight event at a luxury Cape Elizabeth resort and takes place in the context of Time Warner's nationwide battle against such local efforts to get faster internet. Continue Reading →

LD 1750: A study in how special interests get their way in the Maine legislature

Photo: John Christie

As the new legislative session opens this week in Augusta, the tale of what became in the most recent session a bill called L. D. 1750 — “An act to amend the Maine Administrative Procedure Act and clarify wind energy laws” — is a case study in how special interests hold sway in the legislature. Continue Reading →

The Watchdog Index: What you can do with $42 million

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The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting unveils its second annual Watchdog Index, modeled after the Harper's Index. We have been performing high level math — ok, mostly grade school arithmetic — to come up with how money was spent on the Maine election this year and finding other ways it could have been spent.

Such as helping Mainers stay warm, sending kids to baseball games or buying thousands and thousands of people Bean boots. Continue Reading →

Ethics board: change law that allowed legislator to pay himself from his PAC

Maine Statehouse, Photo John Christie

Maine’s ethics agency has proposed legislation that would tighten up lax regulations that allowed a Sanford legislator to pay himself and family members from political action committee funds he controlled.

Commission staff proposed the change in response to a story published in October by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting. Continue Reading →

Such a deal

The LePage Inaugural 2015 group, which is organizing celebrations to coincide with the official inauguration, is offering a discount to parties of four or more to attend “a thank-you event” for just $2,000 per person.

That’s $1,000 off retail! Continue Reading →

Poll news is no news

As voters surely saw this past campaign season, there were lots of polls. They showed how one candidate was winning or another.

But polls can be wrong, and they are often abused by political operatives who want to promote candidates.

Read John Christie's latest "Who Ya Kidding" to see how it all works. Continue Reading →