Cutler accuses LePage of publishing campaign material with taxpayer money

Brian Feulner/Bangor Daily News

Independent Eliot Cutler announces is candidacy for governor in Bangor.

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage’s publication of a 26-page booklet listing his accomplishments has triggered accusations from independent Eliot Cutler’s campaign that taxpayers are supporting his re-election bid.

Peter Steele, LePage’s communications director, countered that the booklet, which he said was published last week to mark the governor’s first 1,000 days in office, does not ask for votes for LePage and is no different than newsletters legislators regularly send to constituents. Senators are given $2,000 annually for constituent services and House members receive $1,500.

The booklet, of which there were about 200 copies printed and which is posted in electronic form on the governor’s website, is titled “Moving Maine Forward.” It contains lists of LePage’s accomplishments in everything from job creation to paying old Medicaid debt to hospitals to various education initiatives and tax cuts.

It is illegal for taxpayer-supported staff or resources to be used in campaigns.

Ted O’Meara, who is Cutler’s campaign spokesman, said Monday afternoon that Maine taxpayers should not be paying for this kind of publication.

“The first thing that comes to mind is what is this doing on the state government’s website?” said O’Meara. “I don’t know who paid for having it done, but it’s clearly nothing more than a campaign publication. I think they should reimburse the taxpayers for the cost of it and host it on [LePage’s] campaign website. I’m kind of stunned when I see something like this.”

Cutler published and paid for his own book earlier this year. He posted it on his campaign website.

Steele said he produced the booklet between other tasks during normal work days over the course of about a month. He estimated that he spent less than 20 hours on it and said that the print version was produced by the Department of Transportation, which has printing equipment in-house. Steele said the expense of the printing will be billed to the “governor’s account,” but that the bill has not yet been received. Steele did not provide an estimate of the cost.

“The accomplishments booklet is similar to the booklet that was produced last year, which was widely reported on, and it is not campaign literature,” wrote Steele in response to questions from the Bangor Daily News. “The booklet lists the significant policy achievements of the LePage administration. Nowhere in the booklet does it ask readers to vote for or against any candidate or issue. Those who claim it is campaign literature are the same people who attack the governor whenever he does something positive for the people of Maine.”

O’Meara says the booklet does include some accomplishments for which LePage is due credit, but it leaves out his missteps.

“What’s missing from all of this is the damage that’s been done in the last four years to the state’s reputation and the morale of state workers,” he said. “[The LePage campaign] says actions speak louder than words, but in this case his words have drowned out everything else, even some of the positive things he’s tried to do.”

The phrase “Actions speak louder than words,” which has been a central theme for LePage’s campaign, is printed on the back cover of the booklet.

Lizzy Reinholt, spokeswoman for presumptive Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud, said Monday afternoon that the Michaud campaign is focused on its own plans for the future.

“Our plan is to be rolling out our policy initiatives, such as reducing the use of home heating oil by 20 percent by 2030 by investing in alternative energy sources,” said Reinholt. “At the end of the day, what we’re focused on is the campaign.”

This is not the first time the executive branch has been used to tout LePage’s accomplishments.

In addition to the booklet published 500 days into LePage’s term, the DOT printed about 2,000 palm cards last month that list LePage’s accomplishments. They are being distributed by the governor and his staff during his travels. Steele said the printing bill for the palm cards hasn’t come in, either.

Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Ethics Commission, could not be reached for comment late Monday. He has told the Bangor Daily News in the past that publications that don’t explicitly ask for votes do not violate Maine’s campaign finance laws.

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.

Advertisement

Comments

Bob White's picture

Another BIG story of nothing.

Another BIG story of nothing. If you keep flinging mud maybe it will stick.(at least you hope) Try again.

Steve  Dosh's picture

. . .Accuses LePage of publishing campaign material w/taxfu

Mainers ? , Tuesday 12:15 hst ?
~ Happy T-day Mainers ~
. . t s k ,t s k . .A Non-union publisher , too , huh ?
hth , Dr. Dosh
http://www.wmtw.com/news/maine/central/Lewiston-business-to-shut-down-pu...

FRANK EARLEY's picture

The man marches to the beat of his own drum........

No sense in trying to stop him, he clearly feels the rules are for everyone else. I feel that if this was a type of progress report, than adding all his negative accomplishments would have been appropriate. Given the timing and the content, including his possible campaign slogan, "Actions speak louder than words", I would definitely consider this campaign propaganda. However the $1,000,000.00 he's wasting with this other ripoff, kind of whitewashes this "Thousand day booklet". Maybe we should confiscate his Gubernatorial check book, and cut up his credit cards. Just as any responsible adult would do if a child started spending money irresponsibly..................

AL PELLETIER's picture

His booklet is small potatoes.

What about the $995,000.00 of our tax dollars he wasted by hiring the Alexander Group?
Once again MAINE VOTERS AND TAX PAYERS, check out the background and qualifications of Gary Alexander and his, "one man band", the Alexander Group.
Decide for yourself if Lepage just squandered your money.

 's picture

Poppycock

1. The writer buries the lead in this story. Read the last sentence.

2. Cutler would be better advised to attack Michaud. Lepage is not his problem.

3. Cutler and the turncoat O'Meara would be advised to learn Maine election law before making further fools of themselves.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Bob ? ƒiddlesticks ~ Happy

Bob ? ƒiddlesticks ~ Happy Turkey Day ~ " Lepage is your problem ." /s Dr. Dosh ;)

Advertisement

Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...