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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 →

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Sanford senator used PAC money to pay himself and family $17,000

Sen. John Tuttle, Jr., (D) Sanford.  Photo:  Maine Senate Democrats

A veteran state legislator has used a campaign fund designed to help other Democratic candidates run for office to buy tires, pay for car repairs, reimburse himself for travel and pay his wife and daughter for computer services and keeping his books. Continue Reading →

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LePage, utilities commissioner conflict over conflicts only partially resolved

Gov. Paul LePage

A conflict over ethics between Gov. Paul LePage and a member of the state’s Public Utilities Commission has been settled in the short term, but threatens to produce more controversy over the long term. Continue Reading →

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LePage, utilities commissioner at odds over ethics

David Littell, PUC commissioner

Gov. Paul LePage has rejected Public Utilities Commissioner David Littell's decision to recuse himself from voting on a case involving bottled water giant Nestle Waters and the Fryeberg Water Co. Littell claims he has a conflict of interest because he previously worked at a Portland law firm that represented Nestle and the water company. Lepage says that isn't enough to disqualify him for voting on the case. Continue Reading →

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LePage, lawmakers try to get Maine a passing ethics grade


AUGUSTA -- Maine’s "F" grade in government integrity issued last year by a national group has led to a number of reforms in the state's ethics rules this year, including a bipartisan transparency bill proposed by Gov. Paul LePage that he signed into law last week.

The reforms also include two bills signed by the governor to stop the so-called “revolving door” at the statehouse, where lawmakers and executive branch officials leave government service and go directly to work as lobbyists. Continue Reading →

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Ethics bills get unanimous support in committee

Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland

State legislators and top appointed officials won’t be able to take jobs as lobbyists right after they leave the statehouse, under a bill passed unanimously by a key legislative committee on Friday. Continue Reading →

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UMaine student leads ethics discussion at Statehouse

University of Maine student Shelbe Lane, after giving testimony on ethics legislation at the statehouse, with Michael Cianchette, her thesis advisor and chief counsel to Gov. Paul LePage

An honors student from the University of Maine stood before lawmakers Wednesday and, in a clear and confident voice, walked them through an ethics reform proposal that would require more extensive disclosure of the financial affairs of public officials and legislators. Continue Reading →

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Maine one of 16 states to push ethics reform, one year after getting an “F”

A lot has happened since the State Integrity Investigation, a first-ever analysis of transparency and accountability in all 50 states, was published a year ago. (The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting provided the research that went into Maine's grade.) Here's a report from the Center for Public Integrity, which spearheaded the investigation:

"The project — a collaboration of the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International, with cooperation from the Investigative News Network — has been quoted, praised, assailed or otherwise cited by hundreds of news outlets, good-government groups and legislators. The project was also a finalist for the prestigious Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting awarded by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Clearly, the idea of measuring accountability and transparency in state government has touched a reformist nerve — and our package is continuing to resonate across the country." To read the rest of the story, 'State Integrity Investigation' has blockbuster first year," click here. Continue Reading →

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LePage-Cain ethics bill: more financial disclosure

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

AUGUSTA -- The state's Republican governor and a leading Democratic legislator have teamed up to try to improve the ethical standards for both elected and appointed state officials.

A bill unveiled this week by Gov. Paul LePage and Sen. Emily Cain of Orono will require greater disclosure of the financial and political interests of legislators and high-ranking executive branch officials.

The bill, L.D. 1001, proposes four changes to current law: Continue Reading →

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