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 →

As election neared, millions poured into state

Captura de pantalla 2014-11-04 a la(s) 5.12.58 PM

In the last 13 days before Election Day, state campaign finance records show millions of dollars coming in, millions going out – much of it for the heated race for governor. Use our interactive charts to explore the last-minute contributions and expenditures in Maine’s state Nov. 4 election. Continue Reading →

The party’s not over

The number of fundraising events appears to have slowed during this last month as campaigns have accelerated their efforts to raise money from everyday citizens, not just high-dollar donors, through phone calls and emails. Continue Reading →

How to survive Maine’s 2014 elections

It’s not easy being a voter these days. You’re inundated with flyers, emails and TV and radio advertisements about where candidates stand or don’t stand or will never, ever stand on issues whose complexities are belied by the emphatic and categorical statements issued almost hourly by campaigns. Who can you believe? What’s real and what’s not? Our role at the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting is to help citizens understand what is really going on in state government and elections. Continue Reading →

‘We’re not getting anywhere’: A judge’s day enforcing victim restitution orders

Steven Bell appears before Judge Gregory Campbell on Aug. 20 in Bangor District Court for a hearing on his restitution order

On the afternoon of Aug. 20, three offenders who owe victims restitution came before District Court Judge Gregory Campbell in his Bangor courtroom. Their cases illustrate common issues the courts have in enforcing restitution agreements. One had been successfully paying back restitution — little by little — on a payment plan; another had failed to stick to a payment plan; and the third left promising to return with money, and never returned. Continue Reading →

Pah-tay with the pols

Today, we introduce our readers to “Political Party Time” — or, as our colleague Kathy Kiely from the Sunlight Foundation calls it, political “money porn.” It’s a window into how politics really work in Maine, where readers can get the inside view of the soliciting that goes on behind the virtuous image promoted by many Maine politicians. Continue Reading →

Three for the price of one

It’s election season, and the hyperbole machine is redlining. Endorsements, especially, are the time to lay it on thick and attempt to counter the candidate’s greatest weakness. Read John Christie's "Who Ya Kidding?" column to find the latest examples of "pure wind" in Maine politics. Continue Reading →

Crime victims have little help getting their due from the system

Justice test

For Linda Descoteaux of Saco, the last nine years have been full of calls, letters and promises from Maine courts that go unfulfilled.

When a man defrauded her of $4,000 in 2005, the York County district attorney’s office sent her a letter saying he’d pay her back part of what he stole by 2009.

“[H]e will pay you restitution in the amount of $1,500 by the 46th month of probation,” wrote York County Courthouse Assistant District Attorney Patrick Gordon in a letter dated September, 7, 2005.

Since then, she said she’s only received a single $110.66 check. Continue Reading →

‘Fundamental reality’: State’s system for helping crime victims a failure

Geoffrey Rushlau, district attorney for Sagadahoc, Waldo, Lincoln and Knox counties

District attorneys from across the state are as frustrated as crime victims with the fundamental reality of the restitution system in Maine: it's broken. Maine crime victims are waiting for millions of dollars – perhaps as much as $12 million – in payments ordered by the courts from the people who stole their money, broke into their car or burglarized their home. Continue Reading →