AUGUSTA — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is asking the House of Representatives and others to submit legal briefs regarding the constitutionality of Treasurer Bruce Poliquin’s private business activity.

The supreme court said it will accept briefs until March 16 and that briefs in response to those will be accepted until March 23.The letter from the court on today’s House calendar.

The House last week voted unanimously to ask the state’s highest court whether ownership or management of a business affects the treasurer’s ability to perform the job.

Poliquin, a Republican who is making a bid for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe, applied to the Phippsburg Planning Board last year for a permit to expand one of his businesses, the Popham Beach Club.

The state Constitution indicates that the treasurer cannot engage in “trade or commerce.”

The questions about Poliquin, a 2010 gubernatorial candidate, arose after he sharply criticized Democrats, including the director of the Maine State Housing Authority. Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, first raised the constitutional questions and had requested a review by attorney general.

Attorney General William Schneider said Poliquin should disassociate himself from his businesses and not appear before any governmental bodies on their behalf. But Schneider also said there was a lack of clear direction from the courts.

In a statement released by House Democrats today, Dion welcomed the opportunity for Democrats to file a brief.

“I expect to work with others to file a brief to fully develop the questions of law regarding Mr. Poliquin’s activities. I believe the court should be fully aware of the factual record that led up to our request for intervention,” Dion said in the statement.

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