Democrats accuse LePage of lying in radio address

AUGUSTA — Democrats are accusing Republican Gov. Paul LePage of playing politics and stretching the truth in his weekly address by claiming Democrats opposed his effort to prevent welfare benefit cards from being drawn from ATMs at places like bars, liquor stores and strip clubs.

In his address, the governor touted his administration's announcement that it had begun blocking the use of electronic benefit transfer cards at 44 ATMs and said he anticipated that more than 200 others would be blocked by summer.

"Once again, Democrats objected to this common-sense measure to protect the taxpayers' money," he said.

But Democrats supported the 2012 bill that banned the use of benefits in those locations and directed the Department of Health and Human Services to develop rules to enforce it. The measure was approved in the House with unanimous support and sent to the governor without a vote being taken in the Senate.

Democratic Rep. Sharon Treat of Hallowell, who voted for the measure, said the governor should be held accountable for spreading false information.

"It's not about what's truthful. It's about using a topic to score political points, and it just bothers me," she said. "It's just completely inaccurate, and it offends me."

Democrats did oppose several of LePage's welfare-related efforts last session, including a measure that would have prevented EBT cards from being used to buy things like alcohol and cigarettes. They said that would be nearly impossible to enforce.

Adrienne Bennett, a spokeswoman for LePage, said in an email that Democrats are playing semantics and that the address is correct.

She said the 2012 law didn't require the administration to mechanically block the ATMs. When Democrats heard the administration was doing so, they attacked it for taking so long, she said.

"They claim they don't want to see welfare fraud, but they rejected all of the governor's common-sense bills. They say they support the 2012 law, then object to how and when we try to enforce it," she said.

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Comments

PAUL MATTSON's picture

Headline should read:

Headline should read: Democrats Oppose 77% of Mainahs Yearning for Welfare Reform

rob washburn's picture

Headline should read:" Lepage

Headline should read:" Lepage and 38%of Mainers ie Republicans don't give a damn about their fellow Mainers"

AL PELLETIER's picture

By golley, there's Adrienne

I thought perhaps she was on vacation. Now she's back and can tell us what LePage MEANT to say.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I still don't get it...........

If I have an EBT card, and there is say two hundred dollars I can use for non food items attached to this card. Now the Governor comes along and decides to mechanically block all ATM's at locations that supply alcohol or adult entertainment.
Now I'm hankering for an ice cold beer, and all I have is my EBT card. I know I can't use the card to buy beer, nor can I use their ATM at the beer store. Now, on my way to the "beer store", I stumble into a Hannafords, or even a bank with an outside ATM, and I take out twenty dollars, which I proceed to buy my beer and cigarettes with at the aforementioned beer store.
Now tell me how LePage's attempt to mechanically block all ATM's at liquor establishments would have prevented me from purchasing my beer? Just how much did it cost to block the ATM at the store I just bought my beer at? I would think there are just two alternatives. 1- block all ATM's or 2- eliminate allowing cash withdrawals on the EBT cards. I don't see where LePage is making any progress with what he's doing now, other than to drum up votes from uninformed voters, his favorite pool of voters.......................

Why go to the beer store?

Why go to the beer store? Hannnaford has a pretty good selection and the law only prohibits using the TANF funds in those establishments, I don't think it prohibits buying beer itself, so why not just use the card at the Hannaford checkout? (Unless, tat is, Hannaford had the foresight to disallow EBT use for alcohol and strippers).

KATHY WILLIAMSON's picture

That tactic always works with

That tactic always works with Tea Party voters.

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