ICYMI/UPDATED: Is LePage’s “Outrage” A Politicized Continuation of Ongoing General Assistance/ Immigrant Battle?

Posted on October 8, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

DSC_0109Late today Maine Governor Paul LePage issued the following press release, regarding “swirling rumors” of “a large number of Unaccompanied Alien Children”. As such, the July write up is being revised and brought up to the top, as within are links that should assuage the Administration’s concerns.

The “rumors” are addressed in a Lewiston Sun Journal story published earlier Wednesday (“Poland selectmen hear of plan to house immigrant children at former Elan School”). That story was later updated (“Government officials deny plan to house immigrant children in Poland”).

    Theresa Allocca of Poland has told the town that she is working with federal officials and with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ office to bring the children to Poland, where they will be housed and educated at a private school funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

    At Tuesday’s selectmen’s meeting in Poland, Town Manager Bradley Plante read a statement announcing that federal officials plan to house 120 immigrant children at the former school, and that the project was being coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    After seeing the Sun Journal report, Kevin Kelley, communications director for Collins, said, “We’re not working with (Allocca) to make this happen,” nor is FEMA.

    “There is no orphanage and the federal government is not sending illegal immigrant children to it,”
    Kelley said.

    And, spokespeople for the Maine Emergency Management Agency and the state’s Department of Health and Human Services also denied that such a proposal is under consideration by their agencies. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also denied any plan to place immigrant children in Poland.

It should be noted that, at NO time in the past 3 1/2 years, has Paul LePage nor Mary Mayhew ever spoken a word regarding the immunization statuses of Maine children, let alone in regards to non-immunized children posing a greater health risk to our state’s citizens.

The press release:

    Statement of Governor LePage on Unaccompanied Alien Children

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage released today the following statement with regard to Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) who may be placed in Poland, Maine:

      “Rumors have been swirling about whether a large number of Unaccompanied Alien Children may be placed at the former Elan School campus in Poland, Maine. Despite efforts by our administration, these rumors have not been substantiated by the federal government. As recently as last week, Mary Mayhew, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, sent an inquiry to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seeking information on whether such plans are in the works. So far, we have not received a response or further information from the federal government. The Administration remains opposed to the placement of these children within Maine.”

      “While we are very concerned for the health and safety of the children, we hope the federal government provides funding and an appropriate home for them if this plan is real and comes to fruition. However, since we have no idea who would pay these costs or if there is any health risk to Maine people, we cannot support them coming to Maine. The state has received no formalized plans or information about this alleged plan. As a result, the administration has no assurance from the federal government of the health status of the children or whether they have had proper immunizations, nor have we had any assurance that the federal government would pay for their health care, education, general welfare or safety.”

================================================================================

(Originally posted 23 July 2014)

UPDATE #2: PPH reporting that the eight children, staying with local families came to Maine between January and June of this year. DHHS spokesman John Martins: “No one but Office of Refugee Resettlement at the federal level knows who these children are, where there are, or how placement was arranged.”

UPDATE: Some statistical information on the children coming across the border via Mother Jones:

    Little kids, including a troubling number of children age five or younger, make up the fastest-growing group of unaccompanied minors apprehended at the US border in fiscal year 2014. So far this year, nearly 7,500 kids under 13 have been caught without a legal guardian—and 785 of them were younger than six.

    It’s still mostly teens who travel solo to the United States from countries like El Salvador and Honduras, as the Pew Research Center revealed today in a new analysis of US Customs and Border Protection data. But compared to 2013, Border Patrol apprehensions of kids 12 or younger already have increased 117 percent, while those of teens have jumped only 12 percent. Apprehensions of the youngest group of kids, those under six, have nearly tripled.

—–

One would think it was an election year oh right.

DSC_0112Yesterday during a conference call with the White House, Maine Governor Paul LePage was informed that eight undocumented children, as part of the federal government’s Unaccompanied Refugee Minors program, had recently been placed in the state without his knowledge:

    “I only learned that children have been placed in Maine after I asked the question. No one from the federal government had informed me or the Governor’s Office that Unaccompanied Alien Children were coming to Maine. The White House officials did not provide any further information, and questions by other governors about how to handle Unaccompanied Alien Children went unanswered.”

    “Our nation was founded by immigrants who came to this country in search of a better life. Our nation and our state still welcomes legal immigrants who want to work hard and help Maine prosper. However, we cannot afford to spend our limited resources on those who come here illegally.”

    “Maine people are generous. Many of us who can afford to give a little do so through our churches or charities to help the less fortunate. Our state government is here to help those who need a temporary hand up or our most vulnerable residents, such as the elderly and disabled who cannot care for themselves. But it is wrong for the federal government to force a higher burden on the people of Maine to pay for those who come to our country illegally, especially when the government secretly places illegal aliens in our state without our knowledge.”

togethBangor Daily News provides more information for context:

    The process that likely put the children in Maine predates LePage’s tenure in office as well as President Barack Obama’s: Since 2002, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has taken custody and care of “unaccompanied alien children.” The department makes efforts to release the child to a relative in the United States while he or she is processed by immigration officials — a process that can take up to two years.

So Paul LePage is either very wrong or so deliberately misleading on this point to score cheap points with his base that it would be comical, if it weren’t so blatant as to his intent. Because make no mistake about it, he is engaging in both remarkable hypocrisy on a variety of levels and politicizing these children by combining them with his ongoing attacks on General Assistance (GA), which is already forcing Maine communities to either take his side or that of Attorney General Janet Mills.

Weigh the evidence.

1. The federal government isn’t “forc(ing) a higher burden on the people of Maine to pay” at all- $868 million was appropriated for the programs for FY14. And the “churches and charities” that LePage referenced in his press release yesterday are among those working with HHS to provide foster care for these children.

2. From June: Weekly Address Of Governor Paul LePage: “Illegal Aliens Should Not Get General Assistance”

lepage sots angry self

    “Illegal aliens who choose to live in Maine are not our most vulnerable citizens. We need to take care of Mainers first.

    During my first few days in office in 2011, I issued an Executive Order to repeal Maine’s status as a sanctuary state. In 2004 Democratic leadership banned state officials from asking people about their legal status when they requested benefits. My order rescinded that policy.

    Also in 2011, the State eliminated state welfare benefits for illegal immigrants.

    Last week, we took the next step. We told Maine towns and cities they will no longer get state funding to give to illegal aliens.

    Federal law prohibits states from providing General Assistance to illegal immigrants. This law was enacted in 1996, when President Clinton and the Republican Congress approved sweeping welfare reforms.”

But we have had a few Presidents since 1996 and one of them, George W. Bush, not only signed a critically important bill into law (2000) but also the reauthorization of same (2008), as mentioned in the BDN. More via Think Progress:

deval

    Under a 2002 human trafficking law signed by former President George Bush and reauthorized again in 2008 with additional protections, Mexican unaccompanied children apprehended crossing the border are automatically returned without formal deportation proceedings because the two countries share a border. But unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala cannot be sent back without going through the deportation process, since that law ensured that America wouldn’t send kids back to a dangerous situation. (Honduras, for example, has experiences increased gang violence in 40 percent of its territory, while violence against females is surging in Guatemala.)

    Authorities must instead process these children and determine whether they have credible proof that they cannot return to their countries of origin. Central American children are given basic care like medical screenings in processing centers before being placed with relatives or foster care until they can appear in front of immigration judges.

3. Here’s where the politicizing of not just the plight of these eight children, but the wider discussion of general assistance for all undocumented people in Maine gets personal from Paul LePage, on a multi-generational level.

  • Paul LePage himself. It’s well known at this point that LePage as a child managed to flee a dangerous and potentially life-threatening environment. He was able to not only survive, but become well educated and successful in large part due to the kindness and generous assistance of many important figures in his early years.

      The oldest son of eighteen children in an impoverished, dysfunctional family, Governor LePage left home at the age of eleven to escape domestic violence and lived on the streets of Lewiston for two years, making a meager living shining shoes. At age thirteen, two families jointly “adopted” Governor LePage. Eddy and Pauline Collins kept him busy washing dishes at the Theriault’s Cafe. Bruce and Joan Myrick kept him busy hauling boxes. Bruce was a Pepsi-Cola truck driver. Later the Governor worked at the Antoine Rubber Company and at a meat packing company.

      While attending Husson, he supported himself as a short order cook and bartender, while making time to be the editor of the college newspaper. Getting into Husson presented a challenge in itself. Governor LePage was brought up speaking French. With the help of U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe’s first husband, Peter, he was able to take an admissions exam in French to demonstrate his strong comprehension abilities and earn admittance.

    World War 1 registration card of Joseph LePage. Note that he is listed as not a U.S. citizen but rather as "Alien".

    World War 1 registration card of Joseph LePage. Note that he is listed as not a U.S. citizen but rather as “Alien”.

  • His paternal grandfather Joseph LePage.

      “His father, a 24-year-old mill worker, was the son of immigrants from Saint Jean de Dieu, a small Quebec farming village 70 miles north of Madawaska, who then lived in a modest three-bedroom cape on a small grassy lot at 759 Lisbon Street. A Quebec genealogist recently revealed Gerard to have been one of the fifth-great-grandsons of Rene LePage de Saint Claire, first lord of Rimouski, Quebec, but his branch of the family had inherited neither wealth nor privilege. Gerard’s father, a printer, had emigrated to Lewiston in 1919, married a local girl, and raised nine children. Gov. LePage has said his father had only a third grade education.”

    Joseph LePage was in Lewiston and listed a resident of that city, per his 1917 World War registration card. He was not, as the card shows, an American citizen but rather listed as “Alien”. His service record via Ancestry.com reads:

      Name: Joseph Lepage
      Serial Number: 388757
      Birth Place: St. Jean, Quebec, Canada
      Birth Date: 09 Jul 1887
      Residence: Lewiston
      Comment: Ind: Lewiston, Androscoggin Co., LB No. 1, May 31/18. Pvt; Pvt 1st cl Apr. 12/19. Org: Btry B 7 Bn to July 13/18; Btry 16 FA to disch. Eng: Meuse Argonne. Overseas: Sept. 1/18 to July 29/19. Hon disch on demob: Aug. 6, 1919.

    After he concluded his overseas service in the military, Joseph petitioned for naturalization with some of his fellow soldiers as witnesses and on August 5, 1919, was finally granted status as an American citizen.

    So Paul LePage’s own grandfather was able to come into America, work here, enlist to be a soldier, serve in that capacity even though he was not legally an American, and only became a citizen after the conclusion of his service and with the assistance of his fellow soldiers.Got it.

    But here’s where Paul LePage’s false outrage over unaccompanied children entering Maine gets really ugly, because not only was his life possibly saved due to the kindness of others, but he and his own family themselves helped and supported arguably an “Unaccompanied Alien Child” years ago- an act of generosity that should be a model for others to look up to and emulate.

    WITH THE WHOLE FAMILY The official family portrait of Governor Paul R. LePage and First Lady Ann LePage; their five adult children, Lindsay, Lisa, Lauren, Paul, and Devon; their grandchildren, Nicholas and Olivia; and Baxter the dog. (Photo @Jim Bowdoin, via Portland Phoenix)

    WITH THE WHOLE FAMILY The official family portrait of Governor Paul R. LePage and First Lady Ann LePage; their five adult children, Lindsay, Lisa, Lauren, Paul, and Devon; their grandchildren, Nicholas and Olivia; and Baxter the dog. (Photo @Jim Bowdoin, via Portland Phoenix)

  • LePage family friend Devon Raymond.

    In January 2011, Governor LePage refused to attend multiple traditional Martin Luther King Day events, telling reporters to tell NAACP to “kiss his butt”(VIDEO):

      LePage: “They (NAACP) are a special interest. End of story. And I’m not going to be held hostage by special interests. And if they want, they can look at my family picture. My son happens to be black, so they can do whatever they’d like about it.”
      Reporter: “And what is your response to them saying that this is more just this one instance but rather a pattern?”
      LePage: “Tell `em to kiss my butt. (giggles) Ahh, I got Dan all upset. You know, this is not about – you know, if they want me to play the race card, come to dinner and my son will talk to them.

    But there’s the thing- he wasn’t, and isn’t, the LePages’ son, but rather what Governor LePage would call an “Unaccompanied Alien Child”.

    Was then Governor Angus King informed of the boy’s arrival in Waterville?

    Unlike Paul LePage and the eight children, there was no immediate danger whatsoever present (“Jamaican joined LePage household as a teen”)

      Devon Raymond Jr. came to live with Gov. Paul LePage’s family in August 2002 with nothing but a suitcase, some golfing gear, ill-fitting shoes and a Bible, according to the governor’s office. The LePages met Raymond in Jamaica through his father, who caddied for Paul LePage during an island vacation, according to Demeritt. Raymond is not a U.S. citizen, nor has he yet been formally adopted by the LePages.

      Raymond moved to Waterville and graduated in 2003 from Waterville High School, where he played on the school’s golf team. He attended Husson University — LePage’s alma mater — for a year and a half, playing golf and studying sports management.

      In his biography on the social networking site Twitter, Raymond describes himself as “chasing the dreams of being a PGA pro.” “My dreams are my motivation,” he wrote. In 2005, he wrote on a Jamaican social networking site that he had moved to the United States to “finish high school and get a college education” and also pursue a golf career.

    LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt even went on-air and was questioned by WGAN’s Ken Altshuler over the governor’s claim that he has an adopted black son:

      “Why add layers of lies and deceit to a very simple story?” Altshuler asked of the governor’s comments.

      “First of all, I reject your characterization that Devon is not the son of Paul LePage,” Demeritt said.

      “He’s not his adopted son!” said Altshuler, who is a lawyer.

      “He’s absolutely his son,” Demeritt said. “Paul LePage and Ann LePage have made Devon a part of their family.” While the adoption paperwork has never been filed, Demeritt said LePage is like a father to Devon Raymond Jr.

    So we ask: Who is Paul LePage to question not just long established federal immigration law and specific procedures actively being implemented, but the immediate safety concerns for these eight children in need?

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  • (UPDATED) Paul LePage and Sovereign Citizens “Maine Constitutional Coalition”: A Timeline

    Posted on July 17, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    (As two of the coalition members have this week been reported to have been either arrested or convicted recently of charges related to their sovereign citizen actions, this post has been updated with more videos, statements and links.)

    Originally posted 7/10/14.

    —–

  • December 5, 2012- Governor Paul LePage swears in the newly elected 126th Legislature. He had previously enjoyed Republican majorities in both chambers with the 125th Legislature; that was erased in the November elections, as Democrats retook both the House and Senate.

    The chief executive immediately sets an acrimonious tone with his co-equal legislative colleagues with family members, media and others as witnesses:

    Senate President Justin Alfond, Speaker of the House Mark Eves and the rest of the Democratic leaders hold their first weekly media availability event with Maine press, immediately after all had taken their oaths of office:

  • 12/12/12- Forbes ranks Maine as the worst state for business for the third year in a row.
  • 12/14/12-The world learns of a horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown CT, as 20 children and 6 teachers are slain by a single gunman.

    Maine leaders issue statements:

      Governor Paul LePage: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends, and community affected by this horrific event this morning in Connecticut. It is difficult to comprehend the loss of so many innocent lives. Ann and I will continue to pray for the families of the children and staff members who lost their lives in what should be the safest of places, their school.”

      Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D-North Berwick): “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of Newton, whose lives have changed forever by this unbelievable tragedy. Like so many parents across the nation, I will find solace in hugging my children and tucking them in tonight. As a state and nation, we must come together to support the community of Newton as they mourn this unspeakable loss.”

  • 12/17/12- LePage orders that the flags across the state be lowered to half-staff immediately through sunset on the following day, in accordance with a Presidential proclamation.
  • 12/19/12-Governor LePage announces a moment of silence for Friday, Dec. 21 in memory of the Newtown, CT victims.
  • 12/19/12- While delivering the keynote speech at a Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Governor LePage agrees with Forbes’ assessment, blaming the state’s economic woes on a variety of factors including high energy costs, the $484 million in overdue Medicaid reimbursements to the state’s hospitals, “generous welfare” spending and the “double dipping” of school superintendents.
  • 12/21/12-Senator Dawn Hill (D-York) is appointed Senate Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs for the 126th Legislative session.
  • 12/27/12- Governor LePage issues an executive curtailment order to reduce state spending by $35.5 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.
  • 1/4/13- Aroostook Watchmen radio show hosts discuss on-air that Fort Fairfield Journal editor David Deschaine is “an ideological ally” of theirs.

    Here is a 2014 article written by Deschaine, “Feds Back Down After Hundreds of Militia Show Support for Nevada Rancher”,, in sympathy with the land ownership and property rights claims of Cliven Bundy.

    Governor LePage administers the oath of Office to Attorney General Janet T. Mills of Farmington.

    Governor LePage administers the oath of Office to Attorney General Janet T. Mills of Farmington.

  • 1/4/13- The state’s budget-writing Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee convene to begin reviewing the impact of the $35.5 million spending curtailment cuts, as part of a larger supplemental package needed to close a projected shortfall of $100 million in Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) budget.
  • 1/8/13- Governor LePage swears in Maine’s three Constitutional Officers (Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, State Treasurer Neria Douglass, and Attorney General Janet T. Mills) and Statutory Officer (State Auditor Pola Buckley).

    Dunlap and Mills had both previously served in the same offices under LePage predecessor Democratic Governor John E. Baldacci.

  • 1/8/13- In Alaska, Sovereign Citizen Francis August Schaeffer Cox aka “Schaeffer Cox” is sentenced to twenty-six years in prison for conspiring to murder federal and state government officials, including judges and law enforcement agents, and for stockpiling illegal weapons and explosives.
    Image used as icon for "The Sovereign Family" Radio Show, hosted by Jim and Trisha White, promoted and aired on the same stations as the Aroostook Watchmen.

    Image used as icon for “The Sovereign Family” Radio Show, hosted by Jim and Trisha White, aired on the same stations as the Aroostook Watchmen and promoted by same.

    Cox served as an Alaskan delegate to the “Continental Congress 2009”, which saw 116 delegates from 48 states in attendance. Some members of the “Constitution Club” offer support comparing him to “Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty” and others wish to distance themselves from Cox. Maine’s three “Continental Congress 2009” delegates are listed as Wayne Leach, Jack McCarthy, and Alan Lowberg.

  • 1/11/13- Officials from the LePage administration present the governor’s budget to the state and his office releases a statement from the governor, blaming the federal government and Medicaid for Maine’s fiscal woes.
  • 1/12/13 the Monticello-based “Aroostook Watchmen” radio show hosts discuss plans to deliver a “remonstration” (EP1129-“A remonstrance to Maine State government”). They opened the show with a Scripture verse, then discussed translating it as being directed to sell one’s clothing for weapons to arm one’s self.

    Roger Ek’s show is first referenced at the 3:45 mark; Jim and Trisha White of “Sovereign Families” at the 4:11 mark.

  • 1/14/13- A group calling themselves the “Maine Constitutional Coalition” (leader Wayne Leach, Aroostook Watchmen host Jack McCarthy and others) submit a set of “remonstrances” to Maine Senate President Justin Alfond, Speaker of the House Mark Eves and Governor LePage at the State House in Augusta, accusing all of acting unlawfully and declaring that they must surrender their elected offices.
  • 1/17/13- Coalition member Gary Smart posts an “Introduction to the Remonstrance”, signed himself and the other three coalition members: Wayne Leach, Phil Merletti and Jack McCarthy.

    A portion of it reads:

      To the People:

      You are most likely aware of the enormous problems existent in America, at all levels, most of which were created and/or exacerbated directly by burdensome government rules, regulations, requirements and policies. This especially holds true for Maine. The People have endured egregious violations committed by government against their rights for many, many years, and this must come to a rapid halt.

      To that end, we have put together a Declaration, Remonstrance and Demand to be presented to the governor and the members of the Legislature when there are ENOUGH SUPPORTERS behind this proposal who will actively work to implement its provisions. Many causes exist in Maine, with many different, diverse groups espousing individual positions. Virtually all of these are valid, but the one common denominator that occasions the need to champion these causes is the fact that the elected and appointed officers in Maine in virtually all positions do not honor their oaths and instead routinely violate them, as well as the rights of the People.

      This document references and makes provisions to correct such situations.

  • 1/19/13-Assistant Majority Leader Senator Troy Jackson (Allagash) points out in a weekly Democratic radio address that the recently released LePage budget in its current form would “dump more than $420 million dollars worth of problems” with its zero revenue sharing from the state to municipalities and shift the financial burden onto them by withholding nearly $300 million in “revenue sharing” dollars from Maine’s towns.
  • 1/30/13- “Maine Constitutional Coalition” spokesman Phil Merletti speaks with WABI as the coalition hold a press conference in the State House’s Hall of Flags:

      “A Remonstrance was served on Maine’s Governor Paul LePage on 14 January, 2013 (1/14/13) asking that wrongs upon the people of Maine be addressed and a receipt was obtained. The Governor was asked to respond within ten days. There was no reply to this Remonstrance. On 30 January, 2013 (1/30/13) a press conference was held in the Capitol outside of the Governor’s office in the Hall of Flags. Shortly after the press conference Governor Paul LePage finally did contact those who signed the Remonstrance saying that he never received his copy of the Remonstrance from his office staff. The Governor is set to meet with those who signed the 1/14/13 Remonstrance.

      Stay tuned.

      This is from the Maine State Constitution: Section 15. Right of petition. The people have a right at all times in an orderly and peaceable manner to assemble to consult upon the common good, to give instructions to their representatives, and to request, of either department of the government by petition or remonstrance, redress of their wrongs and grievances.”

  • 2/2/13-The Maine Constitutional Coalition meet with Governor LePage. When discussing Democratic Senate President Justin Alfond and House Speaker Mark Eves, McCarthy claims that both were guilty of “high treason”, noting that the penalty for treason hadn’t changed in a hundred years.

      “I never said it, but the governor said it. I never opened my mouth and said the word,” explained McCarthy. “The governor looked at us and looked at his buddy and said, ‘They’re talking about hanging them.’ (The “buddy” was apparently a member of LePage’s legal staff.)

      According to McCarthy, at another point in the conversation, when discussing federal funding, LePage said, “If I go any further with this bill, with this refusal to accept federal money, they will surround this building and kill me.”

      “I believe he thinks that literally, absolutely literally. I said if you call we will come and defend you,” said McCarthy on his show.

  • 2/3/13- A video of Wayne Leach explaining the remonstrance (taped in January) is uploaded to YouTube.

    From “maineporcupines”:

      Published on Feb 3, 2013
      This video explains the work of some of the people of Maine to hold Maine’s government officials to their oaths of office. PLEASE BE SURE TO SIGN THE REMONSTRANCE SHOWING MAINE PEOPLE YOUR SUPPORT FOR THIS MOVEMENT TO HOLD THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR OATHS.

      http://www.mainerepublic.com/?page_id=24

      Background: Governor Paul LePage was elected with strong Tea Party support in Maine. He promised a strict adherence to the Constitutions of the United States and that of Maine. Once he took office he began the work he’d agreed to perform, but then something went amiss. It is the belief of many of those who elected him that something is keeping him from performing the [authority?] delegated to him, and to stand as trustee, as elected, by the people of Maine. It is the intention of some of these people to discover what is keeping Governor LePage from performing the duties he swore an oath to uphold. Remonstrance delivered 14 January, 2013. A response was demanded by 29 January, 2013.

      People in other states may want to go to the linked page and copy our Remonstrance serving them at state and local levels to suit your own circumstances. Long live the Republic!

  • 2/4/13- Aroostook Watchmen hosts discuss with their audience the meeting with LePage.

    Jack McCarthy (full audio of the show), who was involved with at least one meeting with the governor, told his audience that the Coalition objected to a section of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy training manual on how to handle encounters with Sovereign Citizens.

      McCarthy said Phil Merletti, another member of the Coalition, showed the manual to LePage.

      “That document says that all four of us are domestic terrorists, do you understand where we stand?” McCarthy recalled. “The governor looked at that and his eyes got real big … and he handed it to his cohort (presumably a staffer) next to him and said, ‘Have you ever seen this before?’”

      He added, “This is a government issued curriculum mandatory for every law enforcement officer in this state and it’s telling them that anybody that says they’re a Sovereign Citizen is a domestic terrorist. The FBI statement at the beginning says that the Sovereign Citizen is the greatest domestic terror threat in this country.”

  • 2/5/13- Rep. Ricky Long (R- Sherman) of Aroostook County introduces LD 220, “An Act To Ban the United Nations Agenda 21 in Maine”. The bill eventually dies in the Legislature mostly along party lines.
    Gov. Paul LePage displays his concealed weapons permit in this photograph released by his office on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (photo via BDN)

    Gov. Paul LePage displays his concealed weapons permit in this photograph released by his office on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (photo via BDN)

  • 2/13/13- Bangor Daily News sends a Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) request to the Maine State Police for information about concealed weapons permit holders in the state.LePage takes to Twitter to share a photo of himself holding his own permit and issues a statement:

      “If newspapers would like to know who has concealed weapons permits, then they should know the governor has his,” LePage said. “I have serious concerns that BDN’s request will incite fear among gun owners and nongun owners alike regarding their safety. There is no reason why these records should be public, and I encourage the Legislature to act quickly to make this personal information confidential.

      As I have said, the rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms will not be questioned while I am governor. That is especially true for those who respect the law enough to go through the process of obtaining a permit to carry concealed.”

  • 2/14/13- Governor LePage teamed up with Democratic Senate Assistant Majority Leader Troy Jackson to submit an emergency bill, temporarily and immediately blocking the release of personal information about concealed weapons permit holders while the legislature works on a permanent solution.
  • 2/16/13- Maine Governor Paul LePage, at the invitation of the Constitution Coalition, meet and take the stage with right wing conspiracy theorist Michael Coffman of Bangor.

    ‘Agenda 21’ is mentioned at the 3:25 mark and the clips final comments suggests that the 1776 option (revolution) is ‘on the table’.

    More on Coffman, considered within the tea party/ liberty/ sovereign citizens movement to be an expert on property and economic rights, as well as an article he penned in 2014 (“The Bundy Standoff- A Century of Abuse”).

  • 2/20/13- The Fort Fairfield Journal reports of the meeting (“Governor LePage Meets with Maine Constitutional Coalition”) with first-hand accounts from some of the participants:
    Ad within the Ft Fairfield Journal newspaper available to the public outside Governor LePage's office. Note the reference to "The Bundy Family" above the racially charged anti-President Obama ad.

    Ad within the Ft Fairfield Journal newspaper available to the public outside Governor LePage’s office. Note the reference to “The Bundy Family” above the racially charged anti-President Obama ad.

      “After we got into the office, I was so relieved. He was cordial, he was open, frank and expressed frustration that we had so much trouble getting to him and he had so much trouble responding to us,”
      said Jack McCarthy, co-host of the Aroostook Watchmen radio program on AM780 in Monticello, Maine. “This was not an inquisition into our governor,” said McCarthy. “It was not, ‘we’re going to hold you accountable and this is what you did wrong.’ That was not the purpose of this Remonstrance. The purpose of this Remonstrance was to delineate the abuses of the Constitution and demand a resolution.”

      “I can’t wait to hear the Bolsheviks in Bangor screaming why he would even have a meeting with radical centrists like us,” said Steve Martin, co-host of Aroostook Watchmen with McCarthy.

      “We produced this Remonstrance and submitted it in writing to the proper channels,” said McCarthy.“This is a constitutional process whereby the people, according to Maine Constitution, have the right at all times to peaceably assemble and address their legislature. We did this through the Remonstrance process.”

    Ft Fairfield Journal available outside LePage offices and stamped as approved by the Governor's office. None of Maine's major newspapers are made available to the public in a similar fashion.

    Ft Fairfield Journal available outside LePage offices and stamped as approved by the Governor’s office. None of Maine’s major newspapers are made available to the public in a similar fashion.

    More details of what was said by LePage at the meeting, which went on for over an hour and a half, are revealed:

      Governor LePage was asked during the meeting if this Remonstrance was the legal way to bring these points up.

      “His answer was, ‘Yes, this is the legal way to do this.’ So, that was encouraging,” said McCarthy.

      The Coalition received a signed receipt of the Remonstrance from the Governor’s office, the President of the Senate’s office and the Speaker of the House’s office.
      “We know that they got these hard copies of this Remonstrance.” The Remonstrance was delivered on January 14 and each office had 10 business days to respond to the grievance.

      “They didn’t respond. They ignored it. We heard nothing. So a press conference was set up in the Hall of Flags. Before the press conference we gave them a last chance to respond before we went public. So we went to the governor’s office and handed another copy to the secretary and said ‘we’re going to do a press conference at 11:00, be warned.’ The governor said he never saw it.”

    Coalition member Gary Smart calls actions of the Legislature “treason”, declares Maine lawyers to be “foreign citizens” and claims that the coalition’s “Remonstrance” has more legal authority than those in elected office or in Maine’s courts:

     Aroostook Watchmen via their Facebook page demand the release of federally convicted domestic terrorist Shaeffer Cox.

    Aroostook Watchmen via their Facebook page demand the release of federally convicted domestic terrorist Shaeffer Cox.

      “The house and Senate have not responded, and placed a lawyer between us and them. Which I think is treason because a lawyer is a foreign citizen according to the [original] 13th Amendment and the BAR is associated with the Communist Party through the Lawyers Guild as reported to Congress through special hearings in the 50’s,” said Coalition member, Gary Smart. “This should make for a treasonous act where our Legislature only wants to deal with the Remonstrance through a lawyer who is a foreign citizen. Sounds like a misprision of Treason to me.”

      Mr. Smart explains the Remonstrance has more authority than any legislation or court authority because it has the authority of Article 1 Section 2 Citizens authority to ordain or abolish the government and reset to a new administration. “Just remember that ‘We the People of Maine,” by the grace of God, established this free and independent state styled as the State of Maine and ordained the constitution of the same.”

  • 2/24/13- News of the Maine Constitutional Coalition members meeting with LePage is shared by Gary Smart.
  • 4/15/13- Maine Constitutional Coalition members discuss at a Tea Party rally in Augusta’s Capitol Park, Augusta having “served on the Governor a formal demand that he and the state not infringe on our Constitutional rights. They describe what they did and the next steps.”
  • 4/20/13- LePage attends and speaks at a presentation about Agenda 21, considered a conspiracy theory by the Tea Party with a goal of creating a “New World Order” stripping Americans of property rights and Constitutional liberties, at Lake Region High School in Naples along with featured speaker Michael Coffman of Bangor.

    LePage opened the discussion with a few remarks and then was available for a question-and-answer period afterwords, where he was quoted as saying, “I am very, very strong in personal property rights.”

  • 4/29/13- An “Education Remonstrance: Holding Augusta Accountable” was announced by Aroostook Watchmen on Facebook.
  • 5/19/13- LePage unexpectedly appears at an emergency Appropriations and Financial Affairs work session, called to address his own recent claim that the Department of Health and Human Services would not be able to pay MaineCare providers past May 28.
  • 5/21/13- LePage starts working out of offices in the Blaine House, the residence of the Governor and First Family, rather than in his offices in the State House across the street.tv hall of flags
  • 5/23/13- It is announced that LePage is moving his offices out of the State House and across to the street to the Blaine House, due to “efforts by majority Democrats in the Legislature to censor his speech”, citing the refusal of the Appropriations Committee to allow him to address them on May 19, and later being asked to obtain permission from the Legislative Council to have a TV outside of his office displaying the number of days since his budget was proposed.

    State law requires the Governor to have his office within the Capitol building, but his staff may remain there and work in his absence.

  • 5/29/13- LePage returns to his State House offices, while still criticizing what he called censorship.
  • 5/29/13- Members of the coalition try again with LePage, this time asking that Kennebec County sheriff Randall Liberty or a judge also be involved.
  • 6/6/13- A follow up memo from the Constitutional Coalition is sent to LePage:
    Kennebec County Sheriff Randall "Randy" Liberty

    Kennebec County Sheriff Randall “Randy” Liberty

      As seen in this selection from the document (obtained by Mike Tipping by a Freedom of Access Act request), the governor was asked about connecting them to Sheriff Liberty or a judge.

        #1. Jack’s question concerning a meeting with Sheriff Liberty, to access or convey our remonstrance to the proper channel(s) (Grand Jury/Superior Court), to start legal proceedings, was never really finalized?

        Can you approach Sheriff Liberty or a judge to set up a meeting with us?

        #2. This discussion led to the fact that you were meeting with a Superior Court Judge over dinner and you said you would raise the issue of the Remonstrance. Could you share the discussion with us?

    • 6/26/13- LePage expresses deep frustration with the veto override of his budget bill LD 1509, blaming “the third floor”, hinting he might not run for re-election (“I don’t know how you recover from this.”)
    • 6/26/13- Aroostook Watchmen post the following message from Constitutional Coalition leader Wayne Leach onto their Facebook wall:

        “Aroostook Watchmen
        June 26, 2013

        Join us at the state house in Maine:

        To all:

        Well, the mail has come, I got a bill but nothing from the alleged criminals, so we are on for tomorrow @ 1 PM at the rear entrance to the State House, and at the Capitol Police Office just inside that door to the left of the security station. I will obtain the required permit for the event. Signs are OK, but none with stakes on them inside the building. If anybody can, I’d appreciate them informing any media that we will be presenting evidence of alleged crimes within the People’s House, some of which are perjury of the oath of office, malfeasance of office, and violations of the public trust placed in the offenders by their position.
        This event will probably last for a maximum of an hour – probably somewhat less.

        Thanks to all who can attend, and bring, notify friends.
        Wayne”

    • 7/3/13- Governor LePage summons Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty to the State House, to meet with the Maine Constitutional Coalition.
    • 7/11/13-Gary Smart of the Coalition offers his support on a “Constitution Club” forum for compiling a list of names of leaders for formation of a “conference of the greatest patriots”:
        Reply by Gary Smart on July 11, 2013 at 9:08pm

        It would be a great idea to have a conference of the greatest patriots to gather together to conference their ideas of a common ground plan to get their members to act upon a concerted effort to taking our individual states back to citizen authority.. This could be done through private talkshoe and private bullitan board conferences to hone out a national plan of actions that the many patriot groups of the nation could join in to do some emergency plan of actions to protect the citizens of the individual free and independent states from the federal governments Martial law plans and to bring our states back to constitutional order.I would like to add two more patriot to my list is Keith Broaders who is working tirelsessly in his endevers to bring a focus to the Sheriff community..

        Also Bob Shultz for his efforts of many years battling the front lines.

    • 7/17/13-Aroostook Watchmen post the following “cut/paste” notification onto their Facebook wall.
        July 17, 2013
        LEGAL NOTICE
        LEGAL NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN TO ALL PERSONS NAMED BELOW WHO HAVE

        failed to answer a demand for response to a People’s Remonstrance that was served on them at their offices in the State Capitol on January 14, 2013, and said persons have also failed to respond to a follow-up Presumptive Letter mailed by Certified Mail to each of them on April 19, 2013 at 11:16:22 AM, which was delivered to both persons named below on April 22, 2013 at 9:16 AM. The persons named herein are therefore violating the public trust and are in breach of their official duty to answer their constituents’ demands. Replies to said Remonstrance must be received from JUSTIN L. ALFOND, whose last known address is 134 Sheridan Street, Portland, Maine 04101, and MARK W. EVES, whose last known address is 29 Acorn Avenue, North Berwick, Maine 03906, within twenty (20) days after service by publication is complete, and failure to do so will be considered an admission to malfeasance of an office of public trust, a breach of fiduciary duty, and an admission that all claims in said Remonstrance and Presumptive Letter are true and factual. Replies may be mailed to
    • 8/7/13- LePage’s legal counsel submit their five page memo regarding the demands of the coalition to the governor.

    • 10/1/13- Due to gridlock in Congress, the Federal government is shut down, with ripples being felt immediately across the country down to the local level.

      Governor LePage’s first response was to minimize the effect of the shutdown caused by Tea Party Republicans in Congress.

        “Although some positions and programs in state agencies are federally funded, all functions of state government will proceed as normal through the end of the week,” Governor LePage said. “The shutdown of the federal government is a result of the failure of leadership in Washington, D.C.

        A short-term shutdown won’t impact the operation of Maine state government. But if the shutdown continues for an extended period, then it could affect some state agencies. With the politicians constantly fighting over the budget, sequestration and the debt ceiling, in addition to $17 trillion in national debt, we cannot rely on the federal government to pay for public assistance programs or state services for Maine people.”

    • 10/9/13- Maine Governor Paul LePage unexpectedly decides to call a civil emergency in response to the federal shutdown, the only governor in the country to evoke such a response to the ongoing crisis in Washington DC.
    • 10/10/13- LePage holds an emergency meeting with some Democratic leaders to discuss his decision to declare a state of civil emergency the previous day.

      Towards the end of this clip, LePage discusses how the decision to declare a civil emergency came to be as part of an impromptu discussion between members of his administration. There is also some inconsistent statements regarding whether or not the state’s employee union was involved in the discussions and when, as well as meetings with Democratic leaders within the Legislature.

      Democrats then held their own press conference:

    • 10/17/13- LePage visits the Cobscook Bay State Park, located and operated on land leased from the then closed Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. Aside from the state park itself, the area also contained a boat launch ramp used by many local fishermen.

      LePage criticized the federal government for interfering with the operation of a state park and closing the boat ramp. He further stated that in the event of another shutdown, he would order Sheriff Donnie Smith of Washington County, where the park is located, to keep it open if necessary.

        … with Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith looking on, the governor vowed the park would not be closed again by federal action. “They won’t close this park again,” said LePage. “I guarantee you that. The sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of the state of Maine. I would authorize him to keep this place open.”

      Rep. Larry Lockman (R-Amherst) and Gov. Paul LePage address media at Cobscook Bay State Park, 10/17/13 (via WABI).

      Rep. Larry Lockman (R-Amherst) and Gov. Paul LePage address media at Cobscook Bay State Park, 10/17/13 (via WABI).

      WABI gets video footage of the governor, Tea Party freshman legislator Rep. Larry Lockman (R-Amherst), 2CD GOP candidate Blaine Richardson and Constitutional Coalition member Gary Smart at Cobscook; only LePage and Lockman are recorded as speaking to media.

        “What happened here this week in Washington County was a federal assault on state sovereignty and individual liberty,” said Representative Lawrence Lockman, an Amherst Republican who represents some of the fishermen impacted. “And I salute these fishermen for standing up to the federal bullies, pulling the barricades down and going to work.”
    • 10/18/13- Governor LePage lifts the civil emergency order.
    • 1/5/14- FOX News runs an article (“Sovereign citizen movement rejects gov’t with tactics ranging from mischief to violence”) discussing sovereign citizens within the country and some of the known patterns of dismissing their activities.
        Dubbed sovereign citizens by law enforcement, the movement numbers anywhere from 80,000 to 300,000 nationwide, according to experts contacted by FoxNews.com. While many live on society’s fringe and pose no immediate threat, police are being trained to be wary of sovereign citizens, knowing that they may not respect cops’ authority and could be prone to violence.

        “Sovereign citizens don’t call themselves that,” JJ MacNab, who is currently writing a book on the movement, recently blogged. “In fact, if you ask a person if she is a member of the movement, she is likely to respond that the ‘sovereign citizen’ label is an oxymoron, and that she is an individual seeking the truth.”

        The Southern Poverty Law Center, which released an authoritative study on the movement in 2010, estimated that up to 300,000 U.S. citizens consider themselves sovereign citizens, with about 100,000 being seriously involved in its techniques.

        FBI officials, meanwhile, characterize sovereign citizens on a wide spectrum, some dismissed as mere nuisances while others are accused of specializing in financial scams or impersonating law enforcement officers.

        Historical hotspots have included pockets of Missouri, Ohio and Michigan, as well as central Florida, but now a “fair amount” of sovereign citizens can be found in every state, Pitcavage said. “This movement has been in a state of growth for several years now and we have not seen any signs of it slowing. And that could mean more people killed, more standoffs, more paper terrorism.”

    • 2/24/14- The Aroostook Watchmen again take to Facebook to inform their followers of the Governor’s handlers interfering and influencing LePage, and that they refuse to meet further with him directly.
        Contact us for your copies of the referred to documents

        Aroostook Watchmen
        FLAGS UP

        To All: O.K. people, this is it. Since we last met with Governor Lepage (the 8th time) and we refused to meet with him any more since he seems to have been fooled by his handlers, gate keepers and lawyers and supports their corrupted beliefs, we have been planning the next and probably last effort to bring the Constitution for the State of Maine, back to the Capital building in Augusta.Periodically, I have been sending out drafts of two reports call “100 Years of Law & (un)Justice”, just in case I could not finish them. Well, the reports are done and 5 Remonstrance resulted as a need to be served to the Governor and the Legislature, to be followed if we are to have our Constitutionally secured and protected rights returned.

        We are attending a hearing in the Capital Building, in the office of the Judiciary Committee room At 01:00 P.M. Tomorrow (02/25/2014). We had to wait until the hearing became a platform to give public opinion for the Re-Appointment/confirmation of Non-Commissioned Judges.

        This is it folks, we have put our life, our jobs and money, our families and repairs on cars and our homes and property on hold for this effort. If you could attend this hearing, we would appreciate your support if you can be there.

        I am still not sure if the Kennabec County Sheriff will be able to attend at this late date, but, we are going ahead with our plans to release the Remonstrances and 2 reports on the “100 years of Law & (un)Justice anyway.

        Thankx Phil

        PS: Please find attached the Master file of Remonstrances and the 2 reports.
        3 Attachments

    • 4/16/14- Coalition member Gary Smart on a “Constitution Club” thread discusses “protecting his property:

        In Maine We have a Constitution which is the Law of the State that is prefixed to all Legislative Law, The rest is Fraud upon the People. The State Constitution is ordained by the People by the Grace of God as Stated here in Maine. There is no law description on how we the People acquire our Property. It is true that when you finance that contract is in error. But Fraud is Fraud and that negates any contract. I financed and paid my note off to Acquire my property with the only currency available to earn money for my labor and I worked and exchanged my labor for each and every one of those FRN’s and satisfied the payment and interest of the contract and received my note marked Paid. I acquired my property. No where in in the Maine constitution, the Federal Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which are the laws of the land (Also the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation) has the people granted the government rights over our private property unless we contract those rights to someone else.

        SO THEREFORE I ACQUIRED, AM POSSESSING AND HAVE MY NATURAL INHERENT AND UNALIENABLE RIGHTS TO PROTECT MY PROPERTY ACCORDING TO THE LAW OF THE LAND.

        These are facts Found in the current Fraud done to the Maine Government System. Look in the Revised statutes of your own state for what we found in MRS Title 1, Section ! Item #1 Sovereignty and Jurisdiction. http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/1/title1sec1.html

        “The jurisdiction and sovereignty of the State extend to all places within its boundaries, subject only to such rights of concurrent jurisdiction as are granted by the State over places ceded by the State to the United States.”

        Then look at the Definitions of

        15. Person. “Person” may include a body corporate.

        21. State. “State,” used with reference to any organized portion of the United States, may mean a territory or the District of Columbia. [ 1965, c. 513, §1 (AMD) .]

        26-A. United States. “United States” includes territories and the District of Columbia.
        [ 1969, c. 433, §7 (RPR) .]

        Maine’s Corporate Laws are laws of the PERSON not the PEOPLE

        You can beat any of these laws by stop consenting to being a Person and exerting your rights as People, it is just that simple.

    • 5/31/14- Coalition member Gary Smart discusses using sheriffs to arrest police chiefs and officers on a “Constitution Club” forum discussion on rights to travel.

        Reply by Gary Smart on May 31, 2014 at 6:00am

        I was just talking with a man this morning about some possible campaigns on this driving vs traveling issue. We are individual attacking this issue, but if we organize a 25 man Board of review Article 61 Magna Carter and walk into the Sheriffs Department and present the known laws and rights of the people and organize the law of the county and shared among many counties. This needs to be organized and discussed on common grounds and bring about a formal complaint to the sheriff, and then start arresting Cheifs of Police and police officers for UCC241 violations to people rights. This simple procedure would work in Administrative (unlawful) courts.

    • 6/30/14- Excerpts from the first chapter of Maine People’s Alliance communications director Mike Tipping’s book, “As Maine Went”, are released.

      The focus of the beginning chapter are details of the eight meetings between Maine Governor Paul LePage and the Constitutional Coalition members. This sparks multiple news stories, opinion pieces, examinations, interviews with many concerned and more, as listed below in chronological order.

        1. BDN “Latest charges could dry up crucial funding for LePage”

        2. MPBN LePage Official: Governor Did Meet With Group on FBI Terrorist List

          McCarthy, whose Sovereign Citizen ties include the Constitutional Coalition, says that he was at the State House to discuss the group’s concerns with the governor. Among those topics, McCarthy says, was their belief that Democratic Maine Senate President Justin Alfond and House Speaker Mark Eves should both be tried for treason.

          “And we also discussed this there, that as far as I know, the penalty for high treason hasn’t changed in a hundred years, and I didn’t say it, but the governor said it – I never opened my mouth and said the word – the governor looked at us and looked at his buddy and said, ‘They’re talking about hanging them,’ McCarthy said.

          “That’s right,” (co-host Steve) Martin responded.

          “I said, Praise the Lord – we’ll hang a few and be done with this crap,’ ” McCarthy said.

          Governor LePage’s office responded:

          Adrienne Bennett, LePage’s press secretary, says the timing of the Sovereign Citizens report story is more than a little suspect, as the governor is seeking reelection in November. “We’re not even into the month of July and we’re hearing this political rhetoric from Democrats, and clearly they have already jumped the shark.”

        3. BDN LePage denies he discussed ‘executing’ Maine Democratic leaders

          “I was never in the room where ‘execute’ was used,” the governor said in a phone call to the BDN managing editor. “It never happened,” he said later in the call.

          “We did not discuss execution, arrest or hanging.”When told that the audio of the show was included on Tipping’s blog, LePage said he wanted to see the tapes.

          “None of this stuff ever happened,” he said again. He said he talked with the group about the U.S. and Maine constitutions. Further, he said, he disagreed with much of what the men said.

          “I listened and listened and listened,” LePage said. “Some points they were making were reasonable and some were off-the-wall.”

    • 7/1/14-
      as maine went

        1. BDN “Group that met with LePage denies terrorist links”

        2. MPBN “Details Emerge in LePage’s Meetings with Group Tied to Extremist Movement”

          Sheriff Randy Liberty says he was contacted earlier this year by Gov. Paul LePage and asked to come to his office for a meeting. “I drove over and we met in the cabinet meeting room,”Liberty says, “and the governor was there with three individuals.”

          Liberty did not know it at the time, but LePage had called him in for a meeting with members of the Constitutional Coalition, a group that progressive blogger and Democratic activist Mike Tipping says has direct ties with a national movement known as the Sovereign Citizens. The group has been linked with violent acts against public figures in other states, and its members reject taxes, the U.S. currency and perceive the U.S. government as illegitimate.

          Liberty says the group wanted a sheriff to help them deliver their grievances concerning a list of constitutional infringements.

          “They wished to have their grievances addressed by the president of the Senate, the speaker of the House and the attorney general,” Liberty says. “And when I was there, the governor seemed generous with his time and he listened a lot.”

          Liberty says he accommodated the group’s request, delivering the message to the respective staffs of the three elected leaders, all Democrats. Liberty says he though he’d completed his assignment, but then he heard from the coalition again earlier this year. This time, they wanted Liberty to arrest the the speaker of the House, the president of the Senate and the Maine attorney general on charges that ranged from dereliction of duty to treason.

          “I was not certain of my jurisdiction in that environment and so I met with District Attorney Meghan Maloney and she did some research and she met with us regarding that,” Liberty says. “They wanted them to be indicted by the the grand jury – the three political figures – and of course that never happened. And that was sort of the end of it.”

        3. Salon “Tea Party Gov. Paul LePage held several meetings with FBI-designated terrorist group”

        4. Mother Jones “There’s Some Serious Weirdness Up In the State of Maine”

        5. MSNBC “Casting Paul LePage in a more alarming light”

        6. MSNBC “Maine Gov. denies talk of ‘hanging’ opponents”

    • 7/2/14-
    • 7/5/14-
    • 7/6/14-
        1.PPH “Agree to Disagree: Is LePage in political trouble after ‘domestic terrorists’ meetings?”

        2.LSJ “Constitutional Coalition speaks out: ‘We’re researchers’ not terrorists” (AUDIO)

          (Wayne) Leach and (Phil) Merletti haven’t yet given up on the governor. They hope he’ll come around and do the right thing. In their way, they feel bad for LePage because he’s so heavily influenced by the lawyers who surround him — a group they call “the gatekeepers.”

          Wayne Leach and phil Merletti (photo via Lewiston Sun Journal, 7/6/14)

          Wayne Leach and phil Merletti (photo via Lewiston Sun Journal, 7/6/14)

          “We put the remonstrance in so that we could have a dialogue,” Merletti said, “and have a meeting.”

          “We almost begged them (lawmakers and others) to respond in some fashion, either negatively or positively,” Leach said.

          “They were just silent. They didn’t even said no. They refused to even recognize that we even existed. That’s a slap in the face for people who have worked months.”

          He doesn’t want to sue Tipping, perhaps, but there is bitterness about the way he was characterized. With that in mind, Merletti points to the far end of the room.

          “Now,” he said, “if we were to put Tipping down in that corner, the four of us here and Gov. LePage there, we could end this in five minutes and then we could find out who’s lying.”“Five or 10 minutes,” Leach agreed. “Tops. I don’t even think it would take that long.”

          “Once that Tipping thing hit, everybody is backing off,” Merletti said. “I think the word is out: Don’t mess with those terrorists. Don’t mess with these guys anymore.”

          “Now,” Merletti said in his slow, methodical manner, “who controls the governor?”
          When no answer is forthcoming, he answers the question himself. “The lawyers,” he said. “The thing they never wanted LePage to do was to be in contact with the outside. They set up three layers of fences around him, with gatekeepers. The only people who got through those gates was through them.”

          When the coalition met with LePage, it was directly, Merletti said. No lawyers, no gatekeepers. The flow of information was unrestrained.

          “That’s why the lawyers didn’t want us talking to him,” Merletti said, “because we were bringing this stuff to light. The man is controlled.

    • 7/7/14-
        1. BDN “Evangelos vs. AG Mills; Cutler’s property tax tour; 7 stories you need to read”

          Evangelos asked the attorney general’s office to investigate what happened during the more than 10 hours of meetings LePage held with the group. On Friday, the AG said she would not investigate because LePage’s Executive Protection Unit — sworn law enforcement officers charged with protecting the governor — was present for the meetings and did not see fit to follow-up on anything discussed at the time.

          In an email to Attorney General Janet Mills on Friday, Evangelos said that wasn’t good enough.

          “Have these officers been questioned?” Evangelos wrote. “Are you taking [LePage press secretary Adrienne Bennett’s] or Governor LePage’s word for this? Did anyone identify the officers in question? Do these officers owe their loyalty and job security to LePage? How can you possibly reach such a narrow conclusion based on such a flimsy investigative effort?”Still, it doesn’t appear likely that Mills, a Democrat, will investigate. Here’s her response to Evangelos:

          “Jeff, our information is not from political sources but from law enforcement. I really can’t say any more, as it is simply not our custom to comment publicly on requests for investigations or on investigations themselves.”

        2. BDN “LePage said “get our guns” as extremists wrote him on revolution”

        3. BDN Editorial “Stating the obvious: Why a governor shouldn’t meet with anti-government extremists”

          “Gov. Paul LePage apparently doesn’t understand a simple concept: As the state’s chief executive, he harms the reputation of the state by repeatedly indulging people who believe the current government is acting illegally, talk in strange ways about a new world order, urge people to not pay taxes, don’t believe President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen, think the federal government is stockpiling ammunition to use against civilians, publicly discuss mind control, and believe the massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., was a government-orchestrated attempt to restrict Second Amendment rights.It doesn’t matter if the people who met with LePage haven’t acted violently in the past; their views are so dissociated from reality they taint the credibility of anyone who takes them somewhat seriously. The fact that LePage met with them multiple times, when he could have been addressing the state’s real problems, shows a severe lack of judgment.

          People will continue to debate the specifics of what was actually said, and what the group believes, but the fact is that LePage met eight times with people who essentially seek to undermine the state’s public safety. By meeting regularly with them, he lent their cause a level of credibility it in no way deserves. His actions should make residents question LePage’s allegiance to the state.”

        4. Politico “Paul LePage Is in Trouble. Again.”

          “And this is not the first time the governor has engaged with some of them (Maine fringe element). His transition team in 2010 included three members of another group, the Maine Constitutionalists, who had recently hosted a talk by the head of the John Birch Society. One transition team member, Dana Dyer, was an instructor at the National Center for Constitutional Studies, the ultraconservative institute founded by the infamous Mormon conspiracy theorist (and devoted Bircher) W. Cleon Skousen, whose writings inform many of Glenn Beck’s rants.”

      Jack-McCarthy

    • 7/14/14- Jack McCarthy is convicted of multiple charges of driving with an expired driver’s license:
        Prosecutors said McCarthy essentially challenged the legality of the requirement that drivers obtain and renew a license, arguing the government was too intrusive and did not have the authority to regulate driver’s licenses.

        McCarthy compared to his refusal to comply with licensing requirements to “taking a sip out of the ‘negroes only’ drinking fountain.”

        “The judge had to explain to the jury in his instructions that the law essentially doesn’t work that way,”
        said John Pluto, assistant district attorney for Aroostook County. “If he was driving on a public road and if he was driving with a license that was expired, then he was guilty of driving without a license.”

        The jury took just 15 minutes of deliberations to convict McCarthy, who was fined $200 on the first charge and $400 for the second one.

      More via BDN:

      Screen-shot-2014-07-16-at-12.05.12-PM

        The group (Constitutional Coalition) has been linked with the Sovereign Citizens, which is described as a terrorist movement by both the federal government and the Maine Department of Public Safety.

        Members of the organization claim no affiliation with the Sovereign Citizens but espouse many of the same beliefs — including the notion that the government has been “hijacked” and is thus illegitimate, that most state laws are “repugnant to the Constitution” and thus invalid, and that the U.S. dollar is a “false currency.”

    • 7/16/14- Not only was McCarthy convicted of two charges of driving with an expired Maine driver’s license, but it is reported that on May 21, fellow coalition member Gary Smart was arrested in Lincoln for expired inspection and registration of his vehicle:
        On May 21, according to reports in the Lincoln News, fellow constitutionalists Gary Smart was arrested after an encounter with officers of the Lincoln Police Department.

        After being pulled over for expired registration and inspection stickers on West Broadway in Lincoln, Smart apparently declared himself a “sovereign citizen” and refused to exit his pickup truck until a member of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department was present. (Sovereigns believe that elected sheriffs are the only legitimate law enforcement officials.) Local officers eventually removed Smart from the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs.

        Smart was also later charged with operating without a license and violating the conditions of his release, according to the Lincoln News.

        Smart, like McCarthy, is defending himself in court and has posted some of his legal submissions to his website. They contain textbook Sovereign Citizen rhetoric, including the misuse of legal terms, allegations that the government is illegitimate and quotes from bible verses and precedents from the 1800s that he says prove he is above the law.

      From the above link:

        “* I, Gary Russell Smart, Sui Juris, am one of the people of the free and independent State of Maine(original), and in this Court of record complain of the following 3 men who are employed by the Private for profit Corporation known as the Lincoln Police Department, a franchised corporation of the District of Columbia: Joshua McKechnie, John Walsh and Daniel Summers who exceeded their jurisdictions, outside of Venue, improperly performing due process of laws of Maine and have injured and damaged me as the men acting as Police officers without my consent as one of the people of Maine who was enjoying natural inherent and unalienable right to travel on the highways of Maine. I make claim on these men as the following:

        – When John Walsh claimed a false arrest and I requested a Sheriff or deputy Sheriff who is a proper law enforcement, commissioned officer, the three named corporate franchised persons of the District of Columbia denied me proper due process of law according to their sworn oaths to God and the People of Maine.
        – These men trespassed upon my private property by opening my door without my consent. and
        – Assaulted me by dragging me out of my private property, and
        – placed me in shackles that I describe as torture devices designed to inflict pain, and
        – assaulted me by pushing my face into the tar and stepping on my back, and
        – Trespassed upon me with unlawful search and seizure, and
        – taking my personal property from 6 of my pockets, and
        – putting me into a cage, and
        – kidnaped me by taking me to the Police Department, and
        – taking my vehicle unlawfully, and

        – All without my consent or due process of the law of the land that these men swore an oath to God and the People of Maine to uphold the constitutional laws.

        * While at the Lincoln Police Department these men wrote two violation summons and complaints to a court hearing for offenses that do not apply to me being a private man who is one of the people of Maine.

        * These summons are identified as being violations of the Maine Revised Statutes which is not my law as I am not a person as these legal rules or codes pertain to for the following reasons:

        – These violations are for fictions in law which are identified as body corporate while I am a man who is one of the People of Maine as identified in the Constitution of Maine.
        – I am not a Person because that is being a man of sin as identified in James 2:9 “But if ye regard the persons, ye commit sin, and are rebuked of the Law, as transgressors.” I am a man who does not knowingly sin against the natural laws of my God, the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe.
        – The jurisdiction of the Maine Revised Statutes is not my venue, where as that venue is the private State of Maine Corporation that is a territory of the District of Columbia and a franchise of the 1871 corporation of the United States which I hold no known contracts with.
        – Any contracts franchising with the United States that might identify me as being a person is a fraud which is “Any trick or artifice employed by one person to induce another to fall into an error, or to detain him in it, so that he may make an agreement contrary to his interest.”(1856 Bouvier) Because this fraud may consist either, first, in the misrepresentation, or, secondly, in the concealment of a material fact. Fraud avoids a contract, ab initio, both at law and in equity, whether the object be to deceive the public, or third persons, or one party endeavor thereby to cheat the other.

        * Therefore a violation of Maine Revised Statutes 29-A §2412-A. Operating while license suspended or revoked is not a valid summons. Not only that it would be an invalid law because it violates a free man’s natural inherent and unalienable rights which all government personnel swear an oath to honor under their duties of the constitution and the supreme court has been ruling in that favor for years. So the driver’s license was a fraud in the first place and to operate as a free man of Maine makes an operation after suspension a fraud which avoids a contract, ab initio.

        * Therefore a violation of Maine Revised Statutes 29-A §351. Registration required is not a valid summons. Not only that it would be an invalid law because my vehicle is my personal private property that the State of Maine has no constitutional authorization to require registration and fees because such laws do not either defend my rights or benefit them by any reasonable nature of natural law.

        * Therefore the violations of 29-A §2412-A. Operating while license suspended or revoked and 29-A §351. Registration required are not valid and I have not done any harm or violated rights to any other man or woman I shall declare that these summons for violations are dismissed by my authority as a man and one of the people of Maine.

        * Therefor this leaves my claims that I have been harmed by three (3) men who operated outside of their constitutional jurisdiction and venue as police officers of the Lincoln Police department and wanted these charges to be prosecuted by the Lincoln District Court and the State of Maine Government under the United States Code 241 and 242 which has the jurisdiction over these persons employed by government and private corporations
        because I did inform them that I was one of the people of Maine, I had a free right to travel, meaning upon the highways and they ignored my venue and made the assumption that I was of their jurisdiction after I informed them differently.

        This is my answer by Gary Russell Smart, Sui Juris, is complete factual knowledge to the best of my ability.”

      —-

      *RELATED: (UPDATED) Breaking: LePage Met “Multiple Times” With FBI Known Domestic Terrorist Group, Discussed Executing Democratic Leaders

      (UPDATED) “Arrest For Treason/ Execution” Docs Released, Proving LePage Lied To BDN, Re: Sovereign Citizens Talks

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  • (UPDATED) “Arrest for Treason/ Execution” Docs Released, Proving LePage Lied to BDN, Re: Sovereign Citizens Talks

    Posted on July 1, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

    UPDATE: Reactions from within the Maine GOP range from overwhelming silence to weak attempts to deflect to now this:

      But a Republican strategist, also not active in the gubernatorial race, said the revelations are both demoralizing for the governor’s staffers and could genuinely harm fundraising.

      “It’s demoralizing and stressful for their inner circle to fight battles like this because they all know it’s true. So what they are going to be doing is fighting this while they should be putting a field operation together,” he said. “Crazy [stuff] like this is going to take a precarious slush fund and drain it.”

    A review of last night’s two phone calls by Maine Republican Governor Paul LePage to the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News (“LePage denies he discussed ‘executing’ Maine Democratic leaders”). The first call:

    lepage sots angry self

      “I was never in the room where ‘execute’ was used,” the governor said in a phone call to the BDN managing editor.

      “It never happened,” he said later in the call. “We did not discuss execution, arrest or hanging.”

      When told that the audio of the show was included on Tipping’s blog, LePage said he wanted to see the tapes.

      “None of this stuff ever happened,” he said again. He said he talked with the group about the U.S. and Maine constitutions. Further, he said, he disagreed with much of what the men said.

      “I listened and listened and listened,” LePage said. “Some points they were making were reasonable and some were off-the-wall.”

    The second call by LePage:

      In a second phone call to the BDN, LePage said he didn’t know about a Freedom of Access Act request that Tipping had filed to secure details of his meetings because “no one told me about it.”

      He said he didn’t stop meeting with the Sovereign Citizens after the FOAA request was filed, as Tipping contends, but stopped meeting with them “because they were not listening.”

      “They got mad and called me all kinds of names,” he said.

      LePage said the group called again Monday to meet with him after Tipping’s blog post, but he said “no way.”

    A few reactions to the BDN headline alone:

    Earlier today, “As Maine Went” author Mike Tipping sent out an email to various reporters and editors, which reads (stresses added):

      Yesterday evening, Governor LePage claimed that he never discussed the arrest of Speaker Mark Eves and President Justin Alfond for treason during his meetings with Sovereign Citizens.

      In addition to the many times Constitutional Coalition mention discussing this topic with the governor in the publicly available audio archives of their Aroostook Watchmen radio show (including in this clip, where they say LePage brought up the subject of hangings), there are also several documents obtained through Freedom of Access request that show these conversations occurred. There are also letters sent to the governor by the sovereigns specifically accusing Eves and Alfond of “treason” and “domestic terrorism.”

      For one example, please see this document titled “Subject for discussion #1” sent to Governor LePage and his staff by Jack McCarthy before one of their meetings with the governor in May, 2013. Not only does it mention some of their previous conversations about the subject and steps LePage has taken to further their cause, but it warns that their options are diminishing and “we will be left with the 1776 or the 1865 option.” 1865 was the year President Lincoln was assassinated.

      I look forward to receiving LePage’s notes from these meetings, which I have again requested and which are apparently written in code. I also look forward to hearing more about his plans to sue me.

    Here is that document referenced above by Mike.

    And so much for LePage’s claims last night to the BDN’s managing editor that such a five page legal memo arranged by his legal counsel didn’t exist!

    This morning, Democratic gubernatorial challenger Rep. Mike Michaud issued a statement regarding yesterday’s revelations:

      “Gov. LePage’s words and actions are out of step with Maine values. By meeting repeatedly with these individuals, he’s given credence to their dangerous beliefs. We must take threats of violence from extremist groups seriously. Gov. LePage has once again shown a severe lapse in judgment that proves he’s not fit to lead the state of Maine.”

      In a 20-minute audio recording of the Maine Watchman Radio show taped after meetings with the governor, hosted by Steve Martin and Jack McCarthy, both members of the sovereign citizens movement, listeners get a firsthand account of these individuals extreme beliefs. They espouse anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT conspiracy theories and warn of a “holocaust against America’s Christian population.”

      “There is no place for this. It’s completely unacceptable. Gov. LePage owes the people of Maine an explanation and should denounce this at once,” Michaud said.

    *RELATED: (UPDATED) Breaking: LePage Met “Multiple Times” With FBI Known Domestic Terrorist Group, Discussed Executing Democratic Leaders

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    (UPDATED) Breaking: LePage Met “Multiple Times” with FBI Known Domestic Terrorist Group, Discussed Executing Democratic Leaders

    Posted on June 30, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

    (UPDATE) Before even hitting “send” on this draft write-up, there have been new developments of note (“LePage denies he discussed ‘executing’ Maine Democratic leaders”), as LePage has this evening called the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News- twice– and has either claimed:

    paul janet

    • That this all didn’t happen/ portions of it happened.
    • There was no five page memo/ well, maybe there was/ well, okay, there WAS a five page memo regarding the legality of arresting and executing members of Democratic leadership.
    • He was going to sue both the BDN and Mike Tipping for the story.

    —–

    Things definitely heating up quickly in Augusta, as a portion of Mike Tipping’s “As Maine Went” was released today implicating Maine Governor Paul R. LePage Sr of meeting multiple times with a known domestic terrorist group and directing his legal staff to investigate the legality of arresting and executing two of his Democratic rivals, Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves.

    Yes- you read that right- “Arrest and Execute”.

    as maine wentFrom Tipping’s book, with portions shared on Talking Points Memo this morning of a early February 2013 meeting (AUDIO HERE)between Governor Paul LePage and some folks:

      They (Jack McCarthy and Steve Martin, hosts of the Aroostook Watchmen radio show) also had something more locally relevant to talk about: McCarthy’s hour-and-a-half meeting, two days earlier, with Maine Governor Paul LePage.

      The meeting with the governor had taken place two days after McCarthy and a group of fellow conspiracy theorists calling themselves the Constitutional Coalition held a press conference at the State House. They stood behind a podium in the Hall of Flags (just outside LePage’s suite of offices) and announced that the president of the Maine Senate, the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, and Governor LePage had all violated their oaths and should be removed from office. The group explained that they had submitted a set of “remonstrances” to all three government officials on January 14 accusing them of acting unlawfully and had received no reply. Under their unique interpretation of the Maine Constitution, this meant that all three politicians must surrender their elected offices. The men were there to announce their intention to enforce that judgment.

      One of the participants, Constitutional Coalition leader Wayne Leach, made reference to the American Revolution and declared that “hopefully this remonstrance, which uses words, will be sufficient. The weapons, I hope, will not be used.

    When LePage heard that they had been asking for a meeting with him and been denied one by his own staff, he quickly took matters into his own hands to rectify the situation:

      This time, however, word of the remonstrances and the press conference made it past the executive office gatekeepers and to the attention of Governor LePage himself. Rather than ignoring the submission and its radical claims, LePage called Merletti at home at 9 a.m. the next morning in order to set up a meeting for that Saturday with members of the Constitutional Coalition. According to a note that Merletti sent to his e-mail list later that day and that was forwarded to LePage and members of his staff, the governor was angry that he hadn’t heard about the remonstrances earlier, and during the call he pledged to fire any staffers found to have been keeping the information from him.

    From later that month comes this first-hand account of that meeting.

      After nearly a year of Governor Paul LePage being kept away from the Maine Constitutional Coalition, allegedly by the Republicans in Name Only (RINOs) at the Maine Heritage Policy Center, he was finally able to meet with Coalition members.

      “After we got into the office, I was so relieved. He was cordial, he was open, frank and expressed frustration that we had so much trouble getting to him and he had so much trouble responding to us,” said Jack McCarthy, co-host of the Aroostook Watchmen radio program on AM780 in Monticello, Maine.“This was not an inquisition into our governor,” said McCarthy. “It was not, ‘we’re going to hold you accountable and this is what you did wrong.’ That was not the purpose of this Remonstrance. The purpose of this Remonstrance was to delineate the abuses of the Constitution and demand a resolution.”

    Wayne Leach confirmed the multiple meetings:

      Leach, who was reached Monday night at his home in Winslow, confirmed that he and other members of the Constitutional Coalition met privately seven or eight times last year with LePage.

      Leach said his group reached out to a number of state officials – including Alfond and Eves – but LePage was the only one who agreed to sit down with them and who would listen to their grievances. He said the governor listened to their concerns and “was on base with us” for several weeks.

      Those meetings ended “abruptly” in August or September on the advice of the governor’s lawyers, according to Leach.

      “Eventually he shut us off and we came to a dead end,” Leach said.

    Here’s what the FBI says about these “sovereign citizens”.

    fbi

      The FBI considers sovereign-citizen extremists as comprising a domestic terrorist movement, which, scattered across the United States, has existed for decades, with well-known members, such as Terry Nichols, who helped plan the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, bombing. Sovereign citizens do not represent an anarchist group, nor are they a militia, although they sometimes use or buy illegal weapons. Rather, they operate as individuals without established leadership and only come together in loosely affiliated groups to train, help each other with paperwork, or socialize and talk about their ideology. They may refer to themselves as “constitutionalists” or “freemen,” which is not necessarily a connection to a specific group, but, rather, an indication that they are free from government control. They follow their own set of laws. While the philosophies and conspiracy theories can vary from person to person, their core beliefs are the same: The government operates outside of its jurisdiction. Because of this belief, they do not recognize federal, state, or local laws, policies, or regulations.

    Upon initial news of the book’s excerpts, Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Cumberland) and Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D- N. Berwick) today issued the following statements as part of a joint press release:

      Legislative Leaders Condemn LePage’s Meetings with Domestic Terrorists
      During meetings, Sovereign citizens discussed “arrest and execution” of Alfond, Eves

      AUGUSTA— Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland and House Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick released the following statements in response to reports that Governor Paul LePage met with and encouraged the Sovereign Citizens, a domestic terrorist movement, associated with violence against public officials nationally.

      Paul LePageAccording to published excerpts of As Maine Went, a new book from Maine blogger and author Mike Tipping, reveals that LePage met with the group eight times for up to three hours. Tipping says, “The central topic of conversation for most of the meetings was the sovereigns’ “remonstrances,” documents they said gave them the authority to arrest and execute Maine House Speaker Mark Eves and Senate President Justin Alfond for treason. LePage indulged and supported the sovereign’s beliefs. He allowed them to present a number of conspiracy theories, told them he agreed with their interpretation of state law, promised to publicize their beliefs, discussed with them the arrest and hanging of Eves and Alfond and brought in Sheriff Randall Liberty to pursue their case, among other actions.

      “It is disturbing and irresponsible for Governor LePage to have ongoing meetings with people who are dangerous and known to be domestic terrorists,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland. “We have zero tolerance for threats of violence, whether on the playground or at the State House. And instead of shutting it down, Governor LePage entertained their delusional thoughts and gave these people a voice.”

      Senate President Justin Alfond (r)answers questions at weekly media availability meeting as Speaker of the House Mark Eves (l) looks on.

      Senate President Justin Alfond (r)answers questions at weekly media availability meeting as Speaker of the House Mark Eves (l) looks on.

      “This violent extremist group presents a real and present danger,” said Speaker Eves of North Berwick. “It’s outrageous that the Governor would meet with them and validate their criminal and violent ideas.”

      According to Tipping’s report, Governor LePage began meeting with the Sovereign Citizens during his campaign and held his first meeting about the remonstrances on February 2, 2013. The eighth and final meeting between LePage and the Sovereign Citizens was held on September 14, 2013. Governor LePage rebuffed repeated requests by the Senate President and House Speaker to meet for the first three months they held office. In total, the leaders have met with the Governor only 11 times in two years.

      The Sovereign Citizens came to the Offices of the Senate President and Speaker of the House on multiple occasions during the Legislative Session to deliver remonstrances and delivered them to their private homes. The authorities, including Capitol Police and the FBI, were notified immediately by legislative staff members on those occasions.

    The governor’s office then tried to dismiss today’s news as part of LePage’s ongoing discussions with constituents, but were unwilling to clarify as to why the group met with the governor eight times, nor allegations that the group called for the arrests and executions of Democratic legislative leaders:

    Carol Weston, Maine State Director of Americans for Prosperity, introduces Gov. Paul R. LePage at Hall of Flags rally in June 2013 (photo courtesy of The Maine Wire)

    Carol Weston, Maine State Director of Americans for Prosperity, introduces Gov. Paul R. LePage at Hall of Flags rally in June 2013 (photo courtesy of The Maine Wire)

      In a prepared statement, the governor’s press secretary Adrienne Bennett, said that LePage has met with “hundreds of Mainers hearing thousands of ideas, concerns and suggestions.” She added, that “hearing those ideas during constituent meetings does not translate to the Governor endorsing the ideas of others.”

      “The Governor meets also with lawmakers, including Sen. Alfond and Speaker Eves,” Bennett said. “Those meetings do not constitute agreement with their views, as well. Lawmakers and constituents do not speak for the Governor.”

      Bennett did not address why LePage met with the group eight times, why a county sheriff was asked to look into their demands or why the governor’s legal staff was asked to draft an opinion of the group’s claims that Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, and House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, should be arrested and executed.

    It’s now “Defcon 5 Damage Control Time” for the Maine Republican Party, as they find themselves in the spin cycle and about to go through in the wringer!

    Top of the order for Team LePage, as newly minted campaign spokesman Alex Willette came out swinging and in his first at-bat, clumsily fouled it off his own foot:

      Alexander Willette, a spokesman for LePage’s campaign, dismissed Tipping and his book, saying the campaign would not respond to the book’s claims.

      “We are not going to respond to the dribbling out of off-the-wall attacks from a shadowy left-wing special interest group,” said Willette, a state representative from Mapleton and assistant House Republican leader who is not seeking re-election in 2014. “This book is just a ploy for attention from the author, who seems desperate to pull the wool over the people’s eyes and sell more of his books.”

    No Batter, No Batter, S-W-I-I-I-N-G, Batter!!!

    Next up- David Sorensen attacked Tipping/ Maine People’s Alliance by retweeting an obscure reference… (assist by Jason Savage)

    Bunt- didn’t even get out of the batter’s box! Sorensen decided to evoke some Eliot Cutler…

    Swing anna miss; that’s Strike 2 for Sorensen! So he next went after former Maine Governor John Baldacci…

    And… Strike 3; yer outta here!

    Next up, Jason Savage, captain of the Maine GOP team:

    Neat work here by Prof. Amy Fried, who easily caught that pop-up and ended the inning.

    This is a still-evolving story and will be updated as needed.

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    (UPDATED) Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: “Illegal Aliens Should Not Get General Assistance”

    Posted on June 24, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

    9PM UPDATE: Some regional coverage now, as Boston media is paying attention

    Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills has now issued a response to this morning’s weekly address of Governor LePage (see below). Within the letter is a detailed statement of why she and her office believe that the rules changes set forth by the administration are unconstitutional, the substantial risks that LePage places all Maine municipalities and citizens, and a detailed timeline of communications between her office, DHHS and that of the Governor.

    Note: Using more of his “My Way Or The Highway” approach, Governor Paul LePage has now forced all Maine municipalities to decide whether they will take his side (with a recent rule change in eligibility) or that of Attorney General Janet Mills (who along with ACLU of Maine maintains that the change is unconstitutional) in the ongoing fight over general assistance for undocumented immigrants.

    The letter seen below was sent to all Maine cities and towns late last week.

    AUDIO: Illegal Aliens Should Not Get General Assistance

        Illegal Aliens Should Not Get General Assistance

      I have always said Maine’s safety net should help our most needy citizens.

      Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

      togethThese vulnerable Mainers include the elderly, children, disabled and mentally ill.

      Illegal aliens who choose to live in Maine are not our most vulnerable citizens. We need to take care of Mainers first. I think most Mainers would agree.

      During my first few days in office in 2011, I issued an Executive Order to repeal Maine’s status as a sanctuary state. In 2004 Democratic leadership banned state officials from asking people about their legal status when they requested benefits. My order rescinded that policy.

      Also in 2011, the State eliminated state welfare benefits for illegal immigrants.

      Last week, we took the next step. We told Maine towns and cities they will no longer get state funding to give to illegal aliens.

      Federal law prohibits states from providing General Assistance to illegal immigrants. This law was enacted in 1996, when President Clinton and the Republican Congress approved sweeping welfare reforms.

      paul janetAttorney General Janet Mills was appointed by the Democratic-led Legislature, and she works for them. Mills has been working aggressively to keep giving General Assistance to illegal aliens. What about “illegal” doesn’t she understand? I find it inexplicable that the state’s top law enforcement official would encourage municipalities to violate federal law.

      It’s really quite simple. Federal law prohibits state reimbursement for illegal immigrants. We are just enforcing the federal law.

      Local taxpayers must speak for themselves. I urge all Mainers to tell your city councilors and selectmen to stop handing out your money to illegals.

      By following federal law and eliminating welfare abuse, we can provide a safety net for our most vulnerable. We will be able to use our resources more effectively and efficiently to better provide Mainers a path to economic independence.

      Thank you for listening.

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    Attorney General Janet Mills Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention (Video, Transcript)

    Posted on June 2, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

    Attorney General Janet Mills Addresses 2014 Maine Democratic Convention (speech as prepared)

        Attorney General Janet T. Mills
        Remarks to the Maine Democratic Convention
        Saturday, May 31, 2014, Bangor Maine

          ,/p>
          Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you members of the Maine Democratic Party.

          Thank you, Matt Dunlap, the hardest working, most productive Secretary of State we have ever had!

          Thank you, Ben Grant and Mary Erin Casale for your leadership and difficult work during good times and bad. And for bringing back a well-deserved majority in the Maine State Legislature!

          Folks, it’s May 31st. The ice is finally out, in most of the state. The lakes and ponds are stocked, the sidewalks smelling of lilacs at last. In western Maine the mowing has begun. We have shaken off the snows of January, the hardships of a frigid February, as we enjoy a long delayed spring and commence the annual recycling of goods at neighborhood yard sales.

          Our long wintry nightmare is over. And this year our recycling starts right at the Blaine House!

          No one deserves this fresh, fruitful season more than we do, you and I.

          It has taken courage to weather the storm.

          During cold and difficult times over the past three and a half years, I have seen many acts of courage.

          I have watched as the brave co-chairs of Appropriations, Democrats Sen. Hill and Rep. Rotundo (the first time both chairs have been women), worked all night, many nights, writing budgets from scratch, preserving funding for our schools, saving local fire and police services and life-saving social programs, while the Governor, refusing to write a budget at all, eschewed governing and headed for Jamaica to play golf….and then accuse the entire legislature of “not working hard enough!”

          I saw people like Rep. Joan Welsh hold the line against mining rules and slack environmental enforcement that would destroy our natural resources, even sell them off to the highest bidder.

          I saw freshmen Reps. Ann Dorney and Sara Gideon bravely, patiently, persistently push to reintroduce and enact legislature that will save the lives of people who overdose, despite a veto and a failure it to override last year.

          I saw Rep. Drew Gattine and Senators Colleen Lachowitz and Margaret Craven question the Commissioner of Health and Human Services repeatedly about why her budget was no longer about health or human services but about electioneering, auctioning off social services and about sweetheart business deals funded by programs to feed children.

          I saw women and men—Democrats—stand up for women’s rights on the floor of the House and the Senate, against a governor who vetoed every reasonable measure to protect the health of Maine families.

          I saw them fight valiantly against this Governor’s veto of Rep. Jane Pringle’s bipartisan bill (LD 1247) to ensure that thousands of low-income women have preventive health services, cancer screenings, annual physicals, birth control, pap tests and health information, saying, after he had vetoed the bills that would cover them with insurance, “they can go buy insurance!?” “Let them eat cake!” the man says.

          I heard Paul LePage say he is dead set against abortion because he was one of 18 children. Seriously. So he believes women should be forced to bear children against their will, regardless of hardship, regardless of sexual assault, regardless of circumstances?

          I saw our Democratic party work to raise the minimum wage, in a state where 60 percent of minimum wage workers are women, while this Governor tried to actually lower the working wage for young people.

          I listened to Gov. LePage give lip service to domestic violence while pulling the rug out from those same women and children seeking emergency help from General Assistance.

          I watched as our Democratic leadership cried foul when this Governor prevented the DEP from protecting Maine children from toxic household chemicals, claiming that BPA is not harmful, saying: “…[I]t gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards.”

          Maybe he still thinks, like some of the Republican leadership, that “Women are from Venus, men are still from Mars!”

          This is worse than junk science, junk politics. It is junk governance.

          Governing is not a game of Candy Crush or Farmville.
          It is not played in a sand box, throwing dirt in people’s faces.
          It is not done from a golf course in Jamaica.

          Governing is about leading—by words, by deeds and by example.
          It is about helping, not hurting. It is about working hard.

          It is about taking us through difficult winter storms and not giving up on the courage, the heart and the soul of Maine people.

          That is why, come next winter, I will be proud to stand with our new Governor, Mike Michaud, who will lead with integrity, experience and example.

          Let us work as hard as we can, through the summer and the fall, to reelect our courageous Democrats to the Maine Legislature, repair the reputation of our state, restore the voice of the people, renew faith in our government and elect a governor who will not leave Maine people out in the cold ever again.

          Thank you.

        DSC_0092

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    2014 Maine Democratic Party Convention Videos: Day 2, 5/31/14 (Saturday)

    Posted on June 2, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    (With this next batch, I will be setting videos with released prepared speeches individually as well. Please note that a request was made to the Cain campaign and as of this morning, there has been no response yet- if the text of her speech is forwarded, hers also will be set as a stand-alone post.)

    1. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention

    2. Attorney General Janet Mills Addresses 2014 Maine Democratic Convention

    3. Androscoggin Chair Tom Reynolds Introduces Shenna Bellows for Senate at Convention

    4. U.S. Senate Democratic Candidate Shenna Bellows Addresses Convention

    5. Rep. Peggy Rotundo of Lewiston Introduces Emily Cain for Congress

    6. Emily Cain for Congress Addresses Convention

    7.Troy Jackson: Core Values” at 2014 Maine Democratic Convention

    8. Rep. Diane Russell of Portland speaking in support of Troy Jackson for Congress

    9. Sen. John Patrick of Rumford speaking in support of Troy Jackson for Congress

    10. Troy Jackson for Congress Addresses 2014 Maine Democratic Convention

    11. Mike Michaud for Governor at 2014 Maine Democratic Party Convention

    12. Mike Michaud for Governor addresses convention

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    (UPDATED x3) Maine Gov Paul LePage To Reintroduce LD 1811, War on Drugs Bill, as Emergency Measure on Veto Day (May 1)

    Posted on April 30, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    (UPDATED x3) Governor LePage has just announced that he plans to reintroduce LD 1811, “An Act To Appropriate and Allocate Funds To Strengthen the State’s Efforts To Investigate, Prosecute and Punish Persons Committing Drug Crimes”, tomorrow as an emergency bill. Here is the press release:

        Governor Finds Funding to Pay For New Drug Enforcement Agents, Judges, Prosecutors
        Bill will go to Legislature on Thursday

      AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage will propose emergency legislation to fund his initiative to fight drug crime by adding Maine Drug Enforcement Agents, judges and prosecutors, which was a major initiative he outlined in his State of the State Address.

      Governor LePage takes media questions on LD 1811 during March 2014 press conference.

      Governor LePage takes media questions on LD 1811 during March 2014 press conference.

      “Although my proposal was widely supported, it died when the Appropriations Committee failed to fund it,” said the Governor. “But this issue is much too important to let die. I am pleased that we have found the funding to help combat the drug epidemic that is ravaging our state. We cannot wait any longer. We must act now to crack down on drug dealers and make our streets safe for Maine families.”

      The Governor will propose using revenue in the Unclaimed Property Fund account to pay for LD 1811, “An Act to Appropriate and Allocate Funds to Strengthen the State’s Efforts to Investigate, Prosecute and Punish Persons Committing Drug Crimes.” LD 1811 would add 10 new MDEA agents, two new District Court judges, deputy marshals and assistant clerks, and two prosecutors in the Attorney General’s office.

      In addition, the bill would provide $750,000 to augment existing drug addiction treatment programs. The total cost of the proposal is about $2.5 million.

      The proposal initially had broad bipartisan support in the Legislature, and it won endorsement from the judicial branch and law enforcement agencies across the state.

    —–

    (UPDATED x2) On April 4, NBC Nightly News ran an in-depth story by national correspondent Kate Snow on the FDA approving opiate antidote Evzio. It featured paramedics in Portland, discussing using life-saving heroin antidote Nalaxone, also known as Narcan to save lives. A portion of that story focused on Maine Governor Paul LePage’s opposition to non-medical personnel having access to Narcan, with a clip from the press conference seen below.

    NBC reporter Kate Snow asks Governor LePage about his opposition to Nalaxone.

    NBC reporter Kate Snow asks Governor LePage about his opposition to Nalaxone.

    One quote from Governor LePage on the topic has drawn much attention and summarized his views:

      “I think we need to treat, Let’s deal with the treatment, the proper treatment and not say, Go overdose, and oh, by the way, if you do I’ll be there to save you. I think we need to deal with the bigger, basic problem of drug addiction, drug trafficking and drug abuse in the state. That’s all I’m interested in.”

    This morning, NBC’s Today Show again featured quotes from the same press conference as part of Snow’s ongoing report on heroin addiction:

      Not everyone is so enthusiastic about the medication. At a press conference on Maine’s drug problem, the governor was adamant that only medical professionals should have access to Narcan.

      “It’s an escape,” Gov. Paul LePage told NBC News. “It’s an excuse to stay addicted. I think we need to deal with the treatment, the proper treatment and not be saying, “go overdose and oh, by the way, if you do, I’ll be there to save you.”

    But in a stunning move, NBC is reporting the governor’s office told them yesterday that LePage is reversing course and no longer opposing access to the antidote:

    ———-

    9am UPDATE: Via Sun Journal’s Scott Thistle is a clip of former Cumberland County Sheriff Rep. Mark Dion, speaking in more depth to the issues raised by the governor during the press conference and elaborating on his own remarks found below.

    ———-

    (Originally posted 3/12/14)

    DSC_0032Governor Paul LePage yesterday held a press conference in his Cabinet Room to announce that he has submitted legislation to provide funding for 22 new state employee positions to fight Maine’s drug addiction and trafficking problems: 4 new hires within the Judicial Branch, 14 for the Department of Public Safety and four additional Assistant AGs. The move is part of his State of the State address promise to toughen up on Maine’s drug laws and enforcement.

    With Attorney General Janet Mills, Cumberland County DA Stephanie Anderson, MDEA head Roy McKinney and law enforcement officers from around Maine in attendance, the governor spoke to and again listed statistics regarding the large number of Maine babies that are born addicted, criticized the state’s methadone clinics and called marijuana a “gateway drug”, a claim supported and expanded upon by DA Anderson when it was her turn at the podium.

    Some quotes of LePage:

      “The methadone clinics in the state of Maine are an absolute dismal failure.”

      “I’m not here to say that eradicating the drug trafficking trade is a silver bullet. We still have the addiction efforts. This is a full-blown business activity, and we’ve allowed it to go from a little bit of heroin for your buddy to a commercial enterprise. We need to break the commercial enterprise. This is, we want to get the people who bring the poison into the state, we want to get them off the streets.”

    The governor also managed to get in a few political digs regarding Medicaid expansion:

      “We must confront this troubling epidemic. While some are spending all their time trying to expand welfare, we are losing the war on drugs.”

    LD 1811, “An Act To Appropriate and Allocate Funds To Strengthen the State’s Efforts To Investigate, Prosecute and Punish Persons Committing Drug Crimes” is sponsored by Sen. Gary Plummer (R-Cumberland) and while it beefs up enforcement and the drug courts, there are no provisions or mention within the bill as will be presented to the Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee in regards to medical treatment for addicts, education or counselling.

    Some Democrats voiced their opinions on LePage’s approach:

    Asst Majority Leader Senator Anne Haskell (D-Cumberland):

      “There are Mainers who today, are living drug-free lives — and the reason for that is the treatment required by the oversight of the drug court. I am pleased to see more resources allocated to the drug courts. However, they are only half the answer. We simply are not going to arrest our way out of drug addiction.”

    Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan) agreed:

      “The governor does not have a track record of supporting prevention and treatment. We want to hear about what he will do on those fronts. We should all be able to agree that we cannot arrest or incarcerate our way out of Maine’s drug problems.”

    Rep. Mark Dion (D-South Portland), a former Cumberland County Sheriff and House Chair of the CJPS Committee:

      “Where we part ways is he’s offering part of a solution. Judges and prosecutors that don’t have the resources to intervene in the addiction cycle will only guarantee more arrests and more detentions at our correctional facilities, which are already under stress.”

    Maine Gov Paul LePage Presents LD 1811, War on Drugs Bill, in Press Conference

    Roy McKinney, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Director, Speaks in Support of LePage Plan

    Cumberland County DA Stephanie Anderson Speaks in Support of LD 1811, Gov LePage War on Drugs Bill

    Conclusion of LePage War on Drugs Press Conference; Q&A with Press

    ———-

    Some parsed out moments:

    1. ME Gov Paul LePage: Marijuana a “Gateway Drug”

      Reporter: “Governor, can you talk about how the push to legalize marijuana in Portland and possibly statewide affects this? Is it a separate issue?”

      LePage: “Yeah, it’s a separate issue. I think what they are doing in Portland is against federal law and the state law- I don’t condone it. I think… I will tell you, I’m not a user, so I don’t know what it does… but everybody that has experience with it is telling me it is a gateway drug. If it is a gateway drug, it’s certainly not helping the situation.”

    2. LePage: Narloxone in home is “excuse to stay addicted”

    3. Medicaid Expansion Question/ Drug Abuse Tie In Question by Susan Alexa

    4. Press sings Happy Birthday to LePage press secretary Adrienne Bennett

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    Maine Senate Takes Up EBT- TANF- GA Bills LDs 1829, 1822, 1820, 1842, 1815 and 1844 (VIDEOS)

    Posted on April 8, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    (NOTE: All of these will be separated and written up over the rest of the week. In the meanwhile, for the sake of sharing quickly, here are all 44 video clips taken during the Monday afternoon/ evening second session in order of debate.)

    1. LD 1829, “An Act To Require the Department of Health and Human Services To Report Annually on Investigations and Prosecutions of False Claims Made under the MaineCare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Food Supplement Programs”.
    ROLL CALL: 21 Yeas – 14 Nays

    HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1829 to Senate

    Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) Opposing LD 1829

    Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec) Supporting LD 1829

    Asst Minority Leader Sen. Roger Katz Opposing LD 1829

    Sen. Geoff Gratwick (D-Penobscot) Supporting LD 1829

    2. LD 1822, “An Act To Increase Integrity in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program through Restriction of Expenditures”.
    ROLL CALL: 18 Yeas – 17 Nays

    HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1822 (OTP as amended by H-787) to Senate

    Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) Opposing LD 1822 as amended by H-787

    Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec) Supporting H-787 amended LD 1822

    Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) Opposing LD 1822 as amended by H-787

    Sen. John Patrick (D-Oxford) Offers SAS 505 to amend LD 1822

    Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) opposing LD 1822 SAS-505

    HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven (D-Androscoggin) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

    Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505 (PT 1)

    Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) Opposing LD 1822 CAH 787, SAS 505

    Sen. Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) Opposing LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

    Sen. John Patrick (D-Oxford) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

    Senate Minority Leader Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo) opposing LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

    Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

    Sen. David Burns (R-Washington) opposing LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

    Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505 (PT 1)

    Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) concludes supporting remarks on LD 1822, SAS-505

    Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505 (PT 2)

    3. LD 1820, “An Act To Reduce Abuse of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program through Restriction of Electronic Benefits Transfers”.
    ROLL CALL: Yeas 20 – Nays 15

    HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1820 as amended to Senate

    Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) opposing LD 1820

    Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) supporting LD 1820

    4. LD 1842, “An Act To Amend the Laws Governing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program”.
    ROLL CALL: Yeas 20 – Nays 15

    HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1842 to Senate w/ ONTP committee recommendation

    Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) Opposing ONTP on LD 1842

    Sen. Eloise Vitelli (D-Sagadahoc) Supporting “ONTP” on LD 1842

    Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) Opposing “ONTP” on LD 1842

    Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec) Supporting “ONTP” on LD 1842

    Sen. Rebecca Millett (D-Cumberland) supporting ONTP on LD 1842

    Sen. Margaret Craven (D-Androscoggin) supporting “ONTP” on LD 1842

    Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) Supporting “ONTP” on LD 1842

    5. LD 1815, “An Act To Require a Work Search for Job-ready Applicants for Benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program”.
    ROLL CALL: 20 Yeas – 15 Nays

    HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1815 (“ONTP”) to Senate

    Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) Opposing ONTP on LD 1815

    Sen. Ron Collins (R-York) Opposing ONTP on LD 1815

    Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) opposing ONTP on LD 1815

    Asst Majority Leader Anne Haskell (D-Cumberland) supporting ONTP on LD 1815

    Sen. Margaret Craven (D-Androscoggin) supporting ONTP on LD 1815

    6. LD 1844, “An Act To Increase Local Responsibility for General Assistance”.
    ROLL CALL: 22 Yeas – 12 Nays

    HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1844 (ONTP) to Senate

    Sen. Geoff Gratwick (D-Penobscot) supporting LD 1844 ONTP recommendation

    Sen. John Cleveland (D-Androscoggin) supporting LD 1844 ONTP recommendation

    Sen. Doug Thomas (R-Somerset) opposing LD 1844 ONTP recommendation

    Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) supporting LD 1844 ONTP recommendation

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    “Put Up or Shut Up” Time! Maine Legislature Takes Up LD 1829, Directing DHHS to Report EBT/ TANF Fraud

    Posted on April 7, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Gov. Paul LePage discusses his EBT/ TANF reform bills LDs 1815, 1820, 1822 and 1842 at a press conference.

    Gov. Paul LePage discusses his EBT/ TANF reform bills LDs 1815, 1820, 1822 and 1842 at a press conference.

    When Governor LePage and others in March held a press conference in the governor’s cabinet room and rolled out a slew of EBT/ TANF welfare reform bills, they were widely seen as election year politicized moves and characterized as a “bait and switch”tactic by LePage:

      “The governor maintains that “millions” of dollars in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families EBT card transactions must be fraudulent because, well, they were spent out of state. Yet even though it’s perfectly legal to spend TANF funds beyond Maine, the governor is determined to eliminate the transactions entirely.

      And he isn’t letting the facts get in the way of a good election year issue.

      The actual total of so-called “questionable” out-of-state TANF transactions in 2013 was about $1 million, or about .0002 percent of Maine’s biennial budget – or almost exactly what the governor spent on his no-bid, politically rigged and economically flawed Alexander Group “welfare report.”

      But if that’s not enough, the governor can’t actually prove that any of these transactions were fraudulent because the government doesn’t track the purchases. Instead, all he can do it spout anecdotes, allegations and breathless hyperbole.”

    After the bills’ public hearing, the HHS Committee chairs minced no words in their criticism of the governor’s tactics:

    DSC_0040

      Sen. Margaret Craven of Lewiston: “Governor LePage’s proposals will not help people get a job and get back on their feet. They will simply make it harder for struggling families to survive. The right route to reform is through education and training. We certainly should not be passing the buck to our towns and shirking on our responsibility.”

      Rep. Dick Farnsworth of Portland: “If there is fraud, no matter how small, it should be investigated and prosecuted, not politicized. We are directing the Governor to investigate that fraud and prosecute it, if it is real. He should stop using it to pull the rug out from struggling families, especially at a time when Maine has one of the worst job growth records in the nation. Governor LePage has built his election campaigns on cynically stereotyping poor Mainers under the guise of welfare reform. The reality is that his policies have only led to a rise in homelessness and an increase in child hunger.”

    Upon hearing about the bills initially and their intent, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills sent a letter last month to Democratic leaders, urging them to “put this matter into perspective”, “go after big fish as well as small” and “not elevate one over another”. Her 3 page missive is below.

    To that end, HHS Committee member Rep. Drew Gattine (D-Westbrook) put forth a bill, LD 1829 “An Act To Require the Department of Health and Human Services To Report Annually on Investigations and Prosecutions of False Claims Made under the MaineCare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Food Supplement Programs”, to combat the claims of the Governor’s office of fraud and do exactly what the attorney general urged.

    Here are his prepared remarks as delivered before the legislature’s standing HHS committee at the bill’s public hearing, held immediately after those for LDs 1815, 1822, 1820, and 1842:

    More from a Maine House Democrats press release:

    HHS Committee members Rep. Drew Gattine (D-Westbrook) and Rep. Deb Sanderson (R-Chelsea) listen to testimony during the public hearings for LDs 1815, 1820, 1822 and 1842.

    HHS Committee members Rep. Drew Gattine (D-Westbrook) and Rep. Deb Sanderson (R-Chelsea) listen to testimony during the public hearings for LDs 1815, 1820, 1822 and 1842.

      According to a report in the Portland Press Herald, despite the effort, the number of successful prosecutions has increased from eight in 2010, to 10 in 2011, to 15 in 2012. The amount of restitution that courts have ordered increased from $92,339 in 2010 to $104,341 in 2012. In 2012, only 13 people were convicted of welfare fraud .

      “What we see from the Governor and the administration is more smoke and mirrors. The Governor has the tools and resources to fight fraud. But he’s not doing the job,” said Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, who serves on the Legislature’s Health and Human Services committee. “Not only are his proposals unconstitutional and unenforceable, but they deflect attention from the real waste and mismanagement on his watch.”

      Under Governor Paul LePage, the Department of Health and Human Services has been plagued by chronic mismanagement and budget shortfalls that have cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

      The Department has squandered taxpayer dollars on a failed MaineCare rides contract and the controversial Alexander report, it has overpaid long-term care providers, and lost the state’s certification and federal funding for the Riverview Psychiatric Center. The Department is also under scrutiny for document shredding at the CDC and tampering with the public bidding process for smoking cessation dollars.

      Gattine has a proposed a measure, LD 1829, which would increase accountability and prevent fraud in the state’s anti-poverty and Medicaid programs. The bill would require an annual program integrity report on all fraud waste and abuse activities including provider and consumer prosecutions and on-going DHHS management issues.

      “We need to shed light on what’s happening at the Department,” said Gattine.

    The bill as amended passed the House last week, but only by a 92-52 margin. It next goes before the Senate this afternoon, as do LDs 1815, 1820, 1822 and 1842.

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