An Irving family company agreed to reduce by $150,000 the debt a leading Democratic legislator owed to the company – the same legislator, Democratic Rep. John Martin, who has been pushing to loosen state environmental regulations so that another Irving company can mine Bald Mountain in northern Maine.
A Republican state senator among those leading the fight to pass legislation to benefit J.D. Irving’s proposal to develop an open-pit mine in the North Woods accepted a free private plane ride to Aroostook from Irving's lobbyists and didn't report it to the state ethics commission.
Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton, said he didn’t need to report the 2013 round-trip ride because its value was not over $300, the threshold for reporting gifts from lobbyists to the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, and because the purpose was fact-finding.
The recent two-day conference that corporate giant Time Warner put on for Maine legislators has revealed loopholes in the state’s ethics laws that make it difficult for voters to know if their elected representatives took part.
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 →
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 →
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, 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 →
Gov. Paul LePage plans to submit legislation this session that would create the state's first lieutenant governor, do away with the secretary of state position and give the power to appoint the attorney general and treasurer to the governor. Continue Reading →
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 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 →
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 →
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.