Washington group ranks LePage No. 2 in list of worst governors

LEWISTON — Maine Gov. Paul LePage was ranked among the 18 worst governors in the United States on Wednesday by a Washington, D.C.-based government watchdog group.

Sun Journal file photo

Maine Gov. Paul LePage was named to a list of worst governors in the U.S. by the Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on Wednesday.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington listed LePage, a Republican, as having the second-worst record based on criteria that included corruption, transparency, partisan politics, pressuring public officials, cronyism, self-enrichment, scandal and mismanagement.

LePage was denoted as a "ringmaster," along with five others, while six were dubbed "clowns" and six were called "sideshows" in the ranking.

Based on media reports, financial disclosure reports, campaign finance reports and property records, the 102-page document details the most controversial decisions and statements made by LePage and the other designated governors.

Ranked in the top spot as worst governor in the country was Georgia's Republican Gov. Nathan Deal. According to the report, Deal — also dubbed a "ringmaster" — used his campaign to benefit his daughter-in-law, a business partner and his top donor. He also obstructed ethics investigations into his business dealings, according to the watchdog group.

LePage was placed in the No. 2 spot based on "the pervasiveness and influence of lobbyists in his administration; personnel problems and retaliation against state employees; improperly bullying state Department of Labor employees; nepotism; reducing government transparency; repeatedly making rude, inappropriate and offensive comments and advocating for new voter identification restrictions."

The report dings LePage for hiring his daughter, Lauren, as an assistant to the chief of staff for his administration, paying her $40,455 year. The report also notes his administration hired Jody Ledoux, LePage's brother-in-law, to a $68,577 a year job at the State Planning Office in 2012.

The report also notes LePage's comments earlier this year when he criticized state Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, using a vulgar metaphor

"When one reads the report and looks at the type of conduct we are talking about, I think a lot of the conduct is indefensible," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics. "It's outrageous conduct."

Sloan said her organization is a nonpartisan group that focuses on ethics issues. The report is only the second they've issued on governors, she said. Sixteen of the governors on the list are Republicans; two are Democrats.

She noted that while some might criticize them for being driven by a liberal agenda, the report includes Democrats, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Also, a large number of Republican governors were not identified as being among the worst in the U.S., she said.

LePage was out of the state in Pennsylvania on Wednesday attending ceremonies commemorating Maine's involvement in the Civil War battle of Little Round Top.

Brent Littlefield, a political consultant to LePage, dismissed the report as an attempt to target Republican governors who are in high-profile re-election campaigns.

"There's no report," Littlefield said. "They are using hyperbole from public accusations. It's accusations on top of accusations from a partisan, ultra-liberal extremist group, trying to make false claims so they can be used by Eliot Cutler and Mike Michaud next year."

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant wasted no time in seizing on the report.

“Once again, Gov. Paul LePage is getting national attention for all the wrong reasons," Grant said in a prepared statement.  "What we need is a governor who is a champion of job creation and who will always put Maine people first. Instead, we have Paul LePage, now objectively one of America’s worst governors, who continually puts the interests of corporate lobbyists and his own party ahead of the interests of Mainers.”

Adrienne Bennett, LePage's spokeswoman in Augusta, was also dismissive of the report calling it "a partisan political stunt." She said CREW was headed by a Washington lobbyist with ties to prominent Democrats including Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

"We are not surprised that this group would rather focus on political rhetoric than to talk about what the (LePage administration) has accomplished," Bennett wrote in an email message.  "Gov. LePage has provided the largest tax cut in Maine’s history, reduced nearly $2 billion in pension debt and paid off Maine’s 10-year-old welfare debt."

sthistle@sunjournal.com

On the Web: http://www.citizensforethics.org/

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Comments

I bet you could plenty of

I bet you could plenty of polls and surveys that has Obama ranked as one of worst Presidents ever. Chances are you'd never put it the front page of your paper.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Washington group ranks LePage No. 2 in list of worst governors

Mainers, 19:00 hst ? Friday evening ( beautiful here - the sunset )
Survey says ( see below ) . . .
On a scale of 1 - 10 ( 10 being the best ) your governor rates a - 4
:D /s, Steve , Hawai'i • 

Chris Blake's picture

OMG Lobbyists

"She said CREW was headed by a Washington lobbyist with ties to prominent Democrats including Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y."

She says lobbyist like it's a dirty word, ignoring the fact that LePage's own administration is loaded with former lobbyists, some responsible for administering the very programs they were paid to lobby against.

He is a ringmaster, and clown

He is a ringmaster, and clown and sideshow all wrapped up in one big barrel of lard..

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Pauly wanted to be like Walker well, close, Both Suck....

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) just released their report named "The Worst Governors in America," and Scott Walker received the dubious title of "ringmaster" in the circus of corrupt and power-abusing Governor's across the nation.

According to the report, Scott Walker's specialty is "juggling the Koch brothers agenda" by "working on behalf of billionaires and assaulting workers' rights." The report also spotlights Walker's violation of the Wisconsin Constitution and state law by "tracking down state senators to force a vote on a measure backed by his campaign donors to eliminate collective bargaining rights."

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I rest my case...............

Nothing new here for me, I feel vindicated.........

ANTHONY NAZAR's picture

LePage is #1

I disagree with the DC guys - our bullyboy is the #1 worst governor in the United States. We will not accept a lower ranking.

C'mon Paul, get a videocam going and drop the eff bomb to a Democratic granny who's walking too slow in front of the great I Am. Or maybe a toddler who doesn't beat the crap out of the next kid for not turning over his candy. You can do it, little beards and inviting the NAACP to KMA werre just starters.

Sarcasm aside - because our legislature is gutless and would even consider starting on a recall amendment, we have this character for two more years. Sit back in your recliner and watch the evening news for a good laugh (or cry).

AL PELLETIER's picture

Poor Adrienne

Try as she may, cannot make a silk purse from a sows ear.

David Lingard Jr's picture

Not much to say....

I have been saying this all along my friends. Not united states wide but this state. He has been doing nothing but embarrassing our state. I believe all along he has been trying to retaliate to this state for his own reasons. He has had nothing to care about but himself and not the people of this state as he has been saying it is for the people of Maine. All in all with his words and insults he obviously has never thought of the feeling of the citizens of Maine. I have heard many people that have said he should have been impeached but i believe he used his power to his own advantage to do what ever he wants. One of those things is to keep him in office and try to scare others. I say stop being afraid of him and do whats right he is only human. He is only destroying this once lovely state of ours if we keep him in office. WAKE UP PEOPLE you wanna make this state better look at the top of the ladder not the petty things going on. I love this state I live in and it is crumbling right before our eyes. The problem is how can people get more money in there pockets not how we can help each other to better each other. Thank you I am done.

I will say this...

He's a moron, a bully, and incompetent, but he at least is not corrupt. The governor of my former state of residence, Virginia, is more like an old fashioned fat-cat politician. He and his wife have become shills for Star Scientific, a company selling snake oil remedies, and in exchange the CEO of the company pays for his daughter's wedding, lets him use the corporate jets and vacation home, and of course make large contributions to his campaign fund.

By the way I found the "OPEN FOR BUSINESS" sign that was stolen from Kittery. Bob McDonnel has it on the eclomd to Virginia sign at the north end of I-81.

Chris Blake's picture

Not Corrupt?

I dunno about not being corrupt. Sure he's not as openly bought and paid for as your Governor Ultrasound, but plopping friends and family into cushy management jobs they weren't qualified for, and hiring a known anti-environmental lobbyist to head the DEP so she can hamstring it both seem pretty shady to me.

That's just typical cronyism

SPP (Standard Political Procedure). Gov Ultrasound (I like that) took thousands upon thousands in cash and gifts, but because of Virginia's lax ethics laws, it's not reportable because they were supposedly given to familiy members. (Also, the snake-oil salesman who has been so generous also has his company under federal investigation for fraud.) Our Lepage is not quite smart enough to know people like that.

(The heir apparent to the Givernor's throne, attorney general Coo-coo-for-CocoaPuffs (sorry, I mean Cuccinelli) is busily trying to paddle his way out of the wake of McDonnell's sinking ship.)

(Fun side note: I was in a state OIT office working on a printer and I saw a box for a 46" TV. "Gobrnor's TV?" I asked. "Yup" I was told with a roll of the eyes.)

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Banzinga

we have Paul LePage now objectively one of America’s worst governors, who continually puts the interests of corporate lobbyists and his own party ahead of the interests of Mainers.”

Let it be said, let it be written....let him hit the road on his face....

Tony Morin's picture

He's #1 in my book!

On this particular list anyway.

David Pinkham's picture

Brilliant

Hey if Washington is against Lepage, then he has my vote! Those wingnuts can't count to twenty one without getting undressed!

Rufus Ham's picture

Hey if Washington is against Lepage, then he has my vote!

I agree 100% with D Pinkham. More so if it was possible. With that many against our Gov, that tells me he is doing, as a whole, the right thing. (Pun intended:) As we know the Liberals are FREELOADERs. Of course they are anti Lepage. Thanks for letting me vent.
ole rufe

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

A winner

The governor is sure winning a lot of awards lately. He won the award as the governor with one of the worst economic development record from a survey of economic development in all the states, and now for nepotism, lack of transparency, scandals and intimidating state employees from an ethics committee, and just last week the financial markets downgraded our bond rating based on predictions for lackluster improvement in financial growth for the foreseeable future for the second time in two years. You wonder how many more such honors he can accrue before the people of Maine wise up to his game.

Alice Barnett's picture

pick your wins

I, for one know he is trying to stop industrial WIND because it will kill Maine. He is not doing it for himself. He does it for the future Mainer.

Claudette Therriault's picture

Worse Governor

The people of Maine have known that righ along, now the whole country knows. How nice!

Alice Barnett's picture

media

media can make or break anything....ask the truth about WIND power in any state and you will get lies....

Steve  Dosh's picture

Alice ? Sounds like a lot of

Alice ? Sounds like a lot of HOT AIR to us ;)
/s Steve and ohana ,
btw - this is right in our backyard --> http://www.ormat.com/case-studies/puna-geothermal-venture-hawaii <-- quite literally , and we love it . . ...

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