Gov. Paul LePage probably is not guilty of criminal corruption such that he will land in jail. Under his watch, however, there have been numerous violations of the Maine Right to Know Law, including shredding public records and LePage not retaining copies of official correspondence. The Departments of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection violated the civil rights of employees, resulting in substantial settlement payments.

The governor is facing a lawsuit by Rep. Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, alleging he violated the legislator’s civil rights,; and the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee is investigating whether LePage coerced the Good Will-Hinckley School to withdraw a position given to Eves by threatening the loss of state funding. But these are civil law violations.

Although the governor may not go to jail, by all accounts, he is quite guilty of unethical behavior. Starting with the hiring of his daughter and brother-in-law for well-paid state jobs to the more recent withholding of voter-approved bond funding for the Land for Maine’s Future Program, with too many other infractions to list, the governor does not seem to know right from wrong.

In 2014, researchers at Harvard University’s Center for Ethics evaluated corruption in state governments. The good news is Maine government was ranked in the group of states where criminal corruption (the selling of political favors for money) was lowest. Maine did not fare as well with regard to what was defined as “legal corruption” (providing special treatment in return for campaign contributions or endorsements) thanks to LePage. Legal corruption by the Executive Branch under LePage’s leadership was found to be “moderately to very common.” Only the executives of New Jersey and Kentucky fared worse.

This is not the track record of a governor committed to good or fair government.

George Seel

Belgrade


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