LePage's State of Disgrace
AUGUSTA, Maine - Tonight, Governor LePage will deliver his final State of the State speech, attempting to put a positive spin on failed policies that impede Maine’s economic growth and hurt middle-class families. Instead, the Maine Democratic Party is calling on LePage to address the ongoing allegations of scandal, corruption and mismanagement that continue to plague his administration."
“If LePage was really concerned about doing what’s right for this state, he will see tonight as an opportunity to address the corruption and mismanagement that has ruined the Maine people’s faith in his administration,” said Ben Grant, Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. “Every day he remains silent about these issues only furthers the damage he has done to Maine’s reputation. It’s time for some basic accountability.
“On top of all the policies that have failed the middle class, we are now into the second federal investigation into his administration,” continued Grant. “Bullying, mismanagement, closed-door policy deals, stigmatizing students, demonizing the poor…enough is enough. It’s time for Governor LePage to own up to his failures so we can move on to meeting Maine’s challenges.”
LePage campaigned on the promise to make his administration one of the most transparent in history. According to LePage’s 2010 campaign website: “Every Maine citizen has a right to know what government is up to. LePage will fight for stronger laws to protect and expand Maine citizens’ right to access information from state and local government. When Paul is Governor, open government will be a reality, not a talking point.”
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
Flash forward three years and LePage has consistently come under fire for his lack of transparency in governing and ongoing allegations of scandal and corruption within his administration.
As LePage takes the stage tonight, here is a laundry list of examples of his culture of corruption:
• A national ethics watchdog group rated LePage the second worst Governor in the country when it came to corruption, mismanagement and partisan politics.
• Scandal after scandal at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
• LePage’s administration is now under FBI investigation because of a whistle-blowing casethat accuses senior leadership at Maine’s CDC of forcing employees to shred public documents and scorecards regarding 2012 Healthy Maine Partnership funding.
• Governor LePage and the DHHS have drawn criticism for delaying the release of a portion of the Alexander Report study, a taxpayer funded study on Maine’s welfare system. Commissioned by LePage in a no-bid contract, the $925,000 study has drawn criticism for a $575 million error.
• A recent editorial by the Portland Press Herald outlines LePage’s failure to adequately respond to FOAA requests regarding public documents in relation to ongoing investigations by federal officials. The Maine Democratic Party, recently filed a FOAA of its own, hoping to bring clarity into the CDC document shredding case.
• This comes as no surprise as LePage has referred to FOAAs as “internal terrorism,” telling one State House reporter that he doesn’t use email or take notes at meetings to avoid FOAA requests.
• LePage altered the state’s MaineCare Rides program, auctioning the service to an out of state company, which failed to deliver services. Under his leadership, the problem went on for months, until he finally said he'd allow for the contract to expire after intense political pressure.
• Governor LePage faced scrutiny and federal query for pressuring Unemployment Compensation Commission hearing officers to favor businesses over workers.
• LePage was questioned for his decision to help some towns over others when it came to voter-approved bonds and development projects.
• One of LePage’s first tasks as Governor was to repeal decades of environmental and public health protections and pack his cabinet with corporate lobbyists.
• LePage breached the state constitution by preventing his staff from testifying at legislative meetings. “The state is not going to be run by committees. It’s going to be run by the chief executive of the state,” LePage said.
• LePage was caught lying about a reporter and subsequent news story on a national radio talk show.
• LePage delayed the release of voter-approved bonds and threatened to veto every bill until the legislature passed his hospital bill.
• The LePage administration secretly scuttled a deal with the Norwegian company Statoil that would have brought hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment and hundreds of good paying jobs to Maine.
• LePage tried to strong-arm the Passamaquoddy Tribe over elver trade and threatened to withdraw state support for tribal priorities.
• LePage refused to meet with Legislative leaders (as part of his objection to being filmed at public events).
• LePage consistently refuses to speak on the record to the state’s three major newspapers, creating a policy against going on the record.
• LePage is known for abusing his veto power, especially when it comes to legislation to improve transparency in government. He vetoed a bill that would increase penalties for campaign finance violations.
• LePage set up a personal dark money interest group run by his chief political advisor.
• LePage attempted to gut Maine’s Clean Election system.
• LePage introduced a bill in 2012 to shield his working papers.
• LePage refused to provide assistance to fire victims in Lewiston, claimed the state had no contingency funds, and then changed his mind after political backlash.
• LePage threatened to close schools in Maine to fix a DHHS budget hole.