The Political Grind

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Group: State lacks transparency

According to a new report from U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, Maine gets an ‘F’ for providing online access to government spending data.

“At least 32 states currently mandate that residents be able to access an online database of government expenditures with ‘checkbook-level’ detail; most of these Web sites are also searchable, making it easier for residents to obtain information about government spending,” the watchdog group wrote in a prepared statement.

Maine fails to provide such detail, the nonpartisan, nonprofit citizens’ group said.

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For the full report, visit http://tiny.cc/65les.

Levesque bonds with Tea Partiers

Jason Levesque, an Auburn businessman running to unseat U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, four-term Democrat from Maine’s 2nd District, says he identifies with citizens rallying in the Tea Party movement, but wouldn’t consider himself a Tea Partier.

The Republican candidate, a political newcomer, attended the most recent Tea Party protest, which was held in Augusta on April 15, Tax Day.

“I associate with the people that are in attendance,” Levesque said. “It’s an extreme cross-section of society. People who have never been active before, political newcomers, people that are actually concerned,” he said in an interview following the event. “They want to do something. There’s an energy there, they want to be involved in the process. I identify with that, because that’s my story as well.”

Asked if he identified with the Tea Party as a national movement, he said, “Nah, I … I’m not evading it.”

“I mean, real honestly, I’m associated with the people of Maine,” he said. “There’s a lot of them there that share the same beliefs that I share and you know, it’s great to meet and talk with these people and listen to them, Tea Party or not.”

The grassroots Tea Party movement consists of mostly local, like-minded citizen groups that are bound nationally more in their common anti-tax and anti-government beliefs rather than formal financial or organizational structure.

Visit www.sunjournal.com/politicalgrind for updates on what’s brewing in Maine politics.

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