Angus King is a miracle of geometry, all surface and no other dimension at all. It is not my intention, and not in my nature, to insult the man or his many devoted fans. This column’s introductory statement is simply descriptive. We must not allow civility to obscure truth.

His failure to pass any bills doesn’t mean that Maine’s junior senator is completely useless. On the contrary, his public statements are a reliable, and often precise, guide to the Democratic Party’s current boilerplate. His thoughts are its thoughts, absolutely uncluttered by anything resembling an interesting or original idea. So it was with his Oct. 10 column, “Question 1 Restores Government to the People.”

He tells us, “I’ve watched as Maine’s clean election system has transformed the state’s Legislature and opened the door for everyday people — plumbers, teachers, carpenters, and firefighters…” Go to www.mainecleanelections.org and you will find the Maine Citizens for Clean Elections folks boasting about the Maine Clean Election Act’s “astounding success.”

Examine the evidence it provides and you will see that, like our Angus, it provides no information and no argument to show that Maine’s Legislature had grown more effective, more efficient, better disciplined, harder working, smarter, taller, prettier or more hygienic. Like Angus, the Clean Elections folks are not interested in how well the Maine House and Senate do their jobs. They simply advance the theory that it’s important that the Legislature has more “everyday people, e.g., “plumbers, teachers, carpenters, and firefighters.”

No actual statistics are provided, and I have a pretty strong feeling that the senator has no real idea of how many actual carpenters have sat in the State House before and after the Clean Elections Act was passed.

If you examine “A Citizen’s Guide to the 124th Maine Legislature, 2008-2010” (the last year covered so far) and various “Registers” put out by the legislative staff, you will find that the distinguishing characteristic of legislative membership is this: a lopsided majority of the Democrats have spent most of their working lives directly or indirectly dependent on government checks; while the Republicans have histories of mixed private and public employment.

King’s assertion that “Democrats, Republicans, Greens and Independents are strong supporters” of Mainers for Accountable Elections also needs examination.

We have the man himself as the prime example of an independent, moderate, middle-of-the-road, non-partisan, straddling-the-aisle kind of guy. Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, also supports the effort. Neither Roger nor Angus appear in the Ethics Commission’s list of Mainers for Accountable Elections cash contributors, but they think Question 1 is a dandy idea and are willing to say so.

It’s true that quite a few GOP candidates have accepted public funding. There’s a paucity of information about how many have found it convenient and how many agree with the idea in principle, but there’s no lack of information about the party affiliation of those who run Mainers for Accountable Elections and those who finance it. They all walk, talk, act and quack like liberal Democrats.

Alex Youn, the campaign manager at Mainers for Accountable Elections, has settled in Portland for a while but, like Sam McGee, he’s from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows. As opposed to Sam, however, there’s no mystery about why he left his home in the south to roam around Iowa, Nevada, Indiana, Virginia, Texas, Ohio, Oregon and now Maine. He worked in all those place to elect Democrats.

Examine the board of directors and staff of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, which has shape-shifted into Mainers for Accountable Elections, and you will find repeated references to the “experience in numerous elections” of the people listed. The website is more than a little coy about whose elections those were, but the few names that emerge are those of Democratic candidates only. The organizations with whom the staff and board members have worked are ideologically liberal without exception.

King is not known as a wit, so his assertion that Question 1 is an “important step to limit the influence of dark money groups and increase transparency” is probably not meant as a joke, even though the Ethics Commission report tells us Mainers for Accountable Elections has raised more than $1.3 million in its effort to “get money out of politics.” This has been widely reported in Maine’s media, but you will have to read here how much Mainers Against Welfare for Politicians has raised — around $31,000 so far.

The Proteus Fund (located in Amherst, Massachusetts, not Amherst, Maine) is the biggest financier of “Mainers” for Accountable Elections. If we count the funds it passed through Maine Citizens for Clean Elections to MAE, its total contribution comes to around half a million. Its funding role may be even wider since one of its missions is to form coalitions of leftist organizations in support of chosen causes. It may have played some role in the $50,000-$100,000 contributions from various People From Far Away. And those hundreds of contributors from California and a couple dozen other states who identify themselves as unemployed are a bit of a mystery. How did they get onto the Maine clean money cause?

John Frary of Farmington is a former congressional candidate and retired history professor, a board member of Maine Taxpayers United and publisher of www.fraryhomecompanion.com. Email to [email protected].


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