LePage releases ethics transparency bill

Gov. Paul LePage has released the text of his legislation to close a loophole in state
ethics law that has allowed high-level state officials not to report millions in state
payments to organizations run by themselves or their family members.

Current law only requires that legislators or high-level state employees report
state purchases of goods or services worth more than $1,000 directly from the
individual legislator or family member, not from a corporation or entity for which
the legislator or family member works.

LePage said in a press release Thursday that he was prompted to introduce the
legislation by a Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting story that revealed that
between 2003 and 2010 the state paid almost $235 million to such organizations.

The proposed legislation also requires an executive-level state employee whose
employment has ended to file financial disclosures within 45 days of leaving
that state position. Currently, if that employee left their job before the disclosure
deadline, then they wouldn’t have to file a financial disclosure at all.

The lead sponsors for LePage’s bill are Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry, and
House Speaker John Nutting, R-Oakland. The bill will be considered by the Joint
Standing Committee on Veterans’ and Legal Affairs.

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