AUGUSTA — What state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin says are politically motivated questions about his income reporting will be at issue Wednesday when the Maine ethics commission meets.

The Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices takes up a complaint by the Maine Democratic Party that Poliquin, a Republican, failed to fully report his income on a disclosure report to the state.

The commission will decide whether to accept its staff’s recommendation that Poliquin should not be fined for failing to fully report his income on a disclosure report to the state. The staff also recommends finding Poliquin failed to comply fully with the disclosure requirements.

Responding to the complaint, Poliquin amended his disclosure report to include $9,750 in membership dues from the Popham Beach Club, which he owns. The dues were more than offset by losses. He also amended his submission to add his son’s income from a 10-week summer internship in 2010. The form requests income disclosures pertaining to immediate family members.

The ethics commission case follows other questions raised by Democrats about the personal financial affairs of Poliquin. As treasurer, Poliquin has been relentlessly critical of the financial dealings in the Maine State Housing Authority, which is headed by former Democratic treasurer and state senator Dale McCormick.

In the meantime, Democratic state Rep. Mark Dion of Portland asked for an attorney general’s opinion on whether the state Constitution prohibits Maine’s treasurer from engaging in “any business of trade or commerce” while serving in office. In response, Attorney General William Schneider said the treasurer should disassociate himself from the active management of any of the entities in which he’s invested and any in which he is the sole owner.

Poliquin said the Constitution does not require the state treasurer to sell everything he owns. In an interview with WGAN radio in Portland on Feb. 7, he said he has real estate and other financial investments, and “I have other people to run those assets for me.”

Earlier this week, Dion said he wants the state supreme court to say whether Poliquin violated the state Constitution by actively engaging in commerce while in office and whether he should continue to serve as treasurer. In order to have the House of Representatives formally pose questions to the court, Dion would need the support of the Republican-majority chamber.

Poliquin was in Florida today due to a family matter and is not expected to attend Wednesday’s ethics commission hearing.

When he was asked a question about his personal finances at a town hall meeting in Madison last week, Poliquin said the criticism leveled by Democrats is politically motivated.

Poliquin also has said he works as treasurer 80-90 hours a week, leaving no time to engage in any outside business. In the interview with WGAN radio, he was asked about the ethics commission filing.

“This thing was filed by the Maine Democratic Party, they have injected politics into this,” Poliquin said.


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