AUGUSTA — Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court has declined to issue an opinion about whether state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin’s outside business activities violate the state constitution.

“No solemn occasion has been presented. We respectfully decline to answer any of the three questions presented,” the court says in a statement posted on its website today.

The House of Representatives asked for the court’s opinion after Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, raised the issue of a possible constitutional violation.

Maine’s constitution says the treasurer cannot engage in business activity. Dion has said Poliquin appears to have violated the clause by working to win an expanded use permit for his Popham Beach Club in Phippsburg and as the sole owner of a condominium development project nearby.

The court, after accepting written arguments, effectively said the issue was not urgent enough for it to take up. “The propounded questions do not present a matter of live gravity or unusual exigency,” it says.

The court also says the questions from the House did not have enough detail and context. Dion had proposed a more detailed set of seven questions, along with detailed description of Poliquin’s business interests. However, Republicans replaced Dion’s proposal with a shorter, more general request that was sent to the court.


Dion said he suspected that the questions submitted to the court were too vague. He said he’s unsure whether Democrats will take additional steps to question Poliquin’s activities.

“It doesn’t take away the fact that we believe the treasurer violated the constitution,” he said.

In a brief phone interview, Poliquin said he was pleased with the court’s decision, but he declined to elaborate, saying he preferred to put out a written statement.


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