AUGUSTA — Republicans in Maine’s House of Representatives are now also calling for a court review of the constitutional questions raised by Treasurer Bruce Poliquin’s private business activity.

House members briefly took up the issue this morning in response to a similar request made by Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, earlier this week. But they postponed until tomorrow a full debate and a vote on whether to send the questions to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

The Republican proposal was presented this morning and seeks an opinion about whether the treasurer can engage in or own private businesses, and whether outside business activity affects the treasurer’s ability to continue doing the job.

It says: “If it is determined that the Treasurer of State has engaged in any business of trade or commerce, or as a broker, or as an agent or factor for any merchant or trader, does that finding affect or have an impact on the validity of the actions taken by the Treasurer of State in the performance of his official duties as used in the Constitution of Maine, Article V, Part Third, Section 3?”

Dion’s request is much more detailed and focused on Poliquin’s businesses and his behavior, including the treasurer’s recent appearance before the Phippsburg Planning Board to seek a business expansion permit for his Popham Beach Club.

Dion has already received an opinion from the Attorney General that Poliquin should not actively manage his businesses going forward. Dion made a short statement on the House floor this morning saying that avoiding future problems is not enough if the constitution has been violated.

“We have taken an oath in defense of (the Maine Constitution). It is the foundation of this chamber,” Dion said. “We have an obligation and a duty to ensure that it is enforced and preserved.”

Further debate was put off until tomorrow, however, when the issue was tabled for procedural reasons.
 

 

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