Gov. Paul LePage has invited Maine’s two congressional representatives to a meeting to discuss the Maine National Guard.

Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, both Democrats, wrote to Brig. Gen. James Campbell, the Guard’s adjutant general, this week asking for a briefing on the Guard in the wake of reports that the 133rd Engineer Battalion could be moved out of the state and swapped for an infantry unit.

On Friday, LePage responded, apparently on Campbell’s behalf, saying in a letter that as “Commander-in-Chief of the Maine National Guard, I would be pleased to meet with you on this matter.” LePage said “appropriate Guard leadership” would be on hand to handle any technical questions.

LePage noted in the letter that the Obama administration has proposed “dramatically cutting” the size of the National Guard across the country, and he said the Maine National Guard is analyzing the possible impact of any reductions on the state Guard.

LePage also used the letter to renew his accusation that congressional staff members leaked to the Portland Press Herald a letter from Campbell in which he indicated that the engineering battalion was likely to move out of state.

“I would appreciate if future communications of this nature not be used as political fodder or be leaked to the media,” LePage wrote. “This type of behavior is not in the best interest of the citizens of Maine or the nation.”


In the past, LePage has accused Pingree’s staff of leaking the letter, and her spokesman has denied that. Friday’s letter makes no distinction between the two offices in its allegation of a leak.

Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz, who first learned that the 133rd would likely leave Maine, has said his tip came from “within the Maine Army National Guard, not the congressional delegation.”

Dan Rafter, a spokesman for Michaud, said Friday night that “it’s incredibly disappointing that Gov. LePage continues to politicize this matter,” but the congressman would review the governor’s invitation after the Memorial Day holiday.

Pingree’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Pingree is married to S. Donald Sussman, majority share owner of MaineToday Media, which owns the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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