A member of the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee wants the attorney general to investigate whether information was leaked improperly to The Portland Press Herald for a story on the Maine Green Energy Alliance.

In a news release distributed Wednesday, Sen. David Trahan, R-Waldoboro, said he has asked Attorney General William Schneider to investigate how the newspaper learned that a pending report shows the alliance may have had inadequate financial controls and documentation but committed no wrongdoing.

Three months ago, the Government Oversight Committee asked the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability to investigate the alliance and how it spent $500,000 of a $1.1 million federal grant intended to expand home energy audits and weatherization.

The Maine Green Energy Alliance, which had apparent links to the Democratic Party, was phased out after falling short of its goals.

The article published Wednesday in the Morning Sentinel reported generally on the findings, citing officials who had seen a recent draft or were briefed on the report.

“I find it deeply troubling that press accounts appear to contain protected information that has not been presented to the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee,” Trahan is quoted as saying in Wednesday’s release from the Senate Republican Office.

“At a minimum, they raise the appearance of impropriety and the possibility that a Class E crime has been committed,” Trahan said.

Attempts to reach Trahan at home Wednesday night were unsuccessful, but in his letter to Schneider he said, “Any release of an OPEGA report prior to its public release has the potential to seriously undermine the Legislature’s work and public trust.

“It raises the possibility that attempts are being made to manipulate public opinion before the results of the OPEGA evaluation can be presented to the Legislature and the general public,” Trahan wrote.

Sen. William Diamond, D-Windham, who serves on the Government Oversight Committee, said the decision to ask the attorney general for an investigation should have been made by all of the committee’s members, not just one.

“I don’t know if we need to jump to the level of the Attorney General’s Office just yet. I’d like to find out exactly what happened before we went public with this,” Diamond said.

“(Trahan) is really reaching,” he said. “This is more than what should be happening at this point.”


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