LePage right to quickly close ethics loophole

Cheers to Gov. Paul LePage and his quick-acting legal counsel, Dan Billings, in announcing they will propose legislation in the current session to close a loophole in Maine’s ethics laws to provide greater government transparency.

The loophole, which shields high-level state officials from mandatory reporting of state payments to their employers and/or organizations run by themselves or their spouses, was the focus of a recent Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting story. That story reported that, between 2003 and 2010, the state paid almost $235 million to these organizations without any disclosure to the public by the handful of public officials who benefited either personally or professionally from those payments.

In explaining why the governor’s office acted so quickly, attorney Billings noted that there are bound to be such conflicts in Maine’s citizen Legislature because many of the people we elect to serve hold on to their full-time jobs and work in those jobs around their legislative schedules. But, he said, “Everybody should know about it and then people can act properly and make sure everybody acts properly and make decisions accordingly.”

Right on.

Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry, the lead sponsor on the legislation, is confident it will pass. And it should.

And, since Dems also appear to support the change, it should be smooth sailing for this common-sense bill drafted in the public interest.

Closing the loophole doesn’t force an examination of every state official’s private finances, but it will require disclosure of state payments made to high-level officials who are in positions to influence public spending.

It’s the right thing to do.

? ? ?

What is the matter with people?

In Wilton on Sunday, a woman was charged with assaulting family members, a police officer and a paramedic as the group worked to subdue her after police were called for a report of a domestic assault.

In Farmington, also on Sunday, a Farmington police officer was punched in the face as she attempted to guide a drunk man away from the middle of a busy street.

Most people can get through a work shift without getting punched, screamed at or otherwise abused. That’s not the case for police officers, paramedics, nurses and others who serve as first responders on our streets and in our emergency rooms.

It’s tough duty under trying circumstances, and getting punched for doing your job just makes it so much harder.

So, thank a cop. Or a nurse. Or an EMT. It might make up for the abuse they have to put up with in the name of public safety.

? ? ?

Cheers to the Auburn Public Works Department.

While its attack on city streets during the Dec. 21 storm was less than satisfactory, the work done to clear streets during Thursday’s storm was outstanding.

On Monday, the Auburn City Council heard a report from Assistant Public Works Director Denis D’Auteuil about the less-than-rapid storm response last month, and D’Auteuil vowed to send out trucks earlier if there was any danger of an ice storm.

There was, and he did.

So, thanks.


The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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Gary Steinberg's picture

Ethics?????? Self - Serving Wind politicians .....

Particularly as it applies to such as unsavory wind self-servers such as Angus King and son,Rep. Hinck and Fitts of Energy Utilities Tech. Commission,Kurt Adams and the other Wind Snake-Oil salesmem and wind scamming companies such as First Wind, and now the DEP of Maine( who refuse to do their mandated legal do process in this area).

They say the below , and laugh at the word.....

"Ethics, We Don't Need No Stinkin Ethics" HA !!!!!!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“In Farmington, also on

“In Farmington, also on Sunday, a Farmington police officer was punched in the face as she attempted to guide a drunk man away from the middle of a busy street.”

Perhaps it is time to look the other way and let these people pass of their own stupidity.

RONALD RIML's picture

After we were

After we were required to take drunks to a hospital for 'Rehab' rather than jail (which the Hospital grew to dislike, but had lobbied for in dreams of state $$$) - the following happened:

Two of our guys picked up a drunk, then let him out a block away from the hospital. He said he was going to "Check himself In" - this at 1:00 in the morning. He walked a half block, wandered into the street, and got ran over by some poor dumb S.O.B. Killed him deader than shidt....

Somewhat of an embarrassment for the PD. Not good P.R. to say the least......

Another time this cop buddy of mine drove this retarded guy home who had been drinking in a bar all night. He had been in an accident, and was in a body cast, splints, the whole nine-yards. They had to put him in the back of a 'Paddy-Wagon' as he couldn't sit down regular-like in a cruiser. Well, they missed the street they were supposed to let him off at, so let him exit at the next corner. Yep - you guessed it, 2:00 a.m. and "Frankenstein's Monster" got nailed by the next car. I was working Detective Bureau so had to go out and photograph the scene where all the debris in the road from the casts, skid-marks, etc 'cause we thought he was 'Checking Out' - He was so wiped he didn't know what hit him, and wound up with a nice settlement from the city and other driver to warm bar stools for the rest of his natural life. ....Needed a bit of help, though, to climb up. But once he was there, he was in fine form. He had these two twin sisters that were weird as hell. I think his parents were brother and sister......

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Ronald, This discussion is


This discussion is turning into a slippery slope for me, but let me put it this way. As an ex-police officer you probably know who the repeat drunks are to some extent for example– correct? Helping those who will not help themselves would be at the bottom of my priority list.

I’m pretty sure you understand what I’m talking about since I guarantee you did not treat all, let’s say traffic stops, with the same degree of compassion and tolerance. In my opinion, it is just human nature to help someone who we think are innocent victim vs. someone who is self-destructive.

This discussion is a slippery slope since I’m generalizing something this is a bit more complex.

RONALD RIML's picture

Are you not aware

Are you not aware that 'Drunkenness' has been 'Decriminalized' since alcohol use disorders were recognized as a mental illness?

I saw many more 'Self-Destructive' behaviors exhibited by people than mere alcohol abuse. That was part and parcel in my long journey from a far right-wing judgmental conservative to a much more tolerant liberal.

The only 'innocents' are the new-born.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Pretty much all

Pretty much all self-destructive behavior is associated with a mental illness these days. Passing judgment is being human; I have no problem being candid about that.

In closing, I found that my liberal friends are far less tolerant than my republican friends. Liberalism is a political philosophy; tolerance is a human behavior. The two are mutually exclusive.

On a lighter note, I now hear the Liberalism is a mental disorder - perhaps there will be a pill for that soon. Until then, I’ll just have to tolerate them :)

RONALD RIML's picture

You're hearing things????

You're hearing 'Liberalism' is a mental disorder??

Then look no further than the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV)

We know that alcohol abuse is coded as 305.00

Schizophrenia, a disease in which one 'hears' things which don't exist, is in the 295 classification.

Now, where is this 'Liberalism' classified in which you 'heard' ????

MARK GRAVEL's picture

(A.K.A. Delusional Disorder)

(A.K.A. Delusional Disorder)

RONALD RIML's picture


If 'Liberalism' isn't referenced - you're still schizophrenic.....

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Perhaps, can I apply for SSI?

Perhaps, can I apply for SSI?

RONALD RIML's picture

You would

You would.

And that is the proof of your mettle.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Ronald, My statement has


My statement has more to do about personal responsibility than displaying my mettle; yes, it does take strength of character at times to stand by watch someone reap the fruits of stupidity. Some individuals will learn from the experience, some individuals will not learn. Sometimes nature has a way of pruning the set of individuals that don’t.

RONALD RIML's picture

Your statement is about

Your statement is about personal irresponsibility.

1. You know they are drunk rather than having had a stroke, seizure, or reaction to medications how???

2. You would let some third party possibly strike them with their vehicle because?

3. If drunk, you know that it is their fault?

Yep - your personal irresponsibility in judging your fellow man.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Ronald, Well, at times I try

Well, at times I try to argue the opposite point of view; I'll conceded on this one.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Oops – improper verb tense –

Oops – improper verb tense – I’ll concede …

RONALD RIML's picture

Then Mark

Then Mark -

You've thought it out and redeemed yourself. Kudos!!! :)

 's picture

Job Well Done Governor LePage

While I do not agree with many things our Governor has done - or tried to do since taking office, I have to say this item was an important one.


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