AUGUSTA (AP) – As the U.S. Senate voted for new congressional ethics standards, legislative leaders on Wednesday announced the members of a new panel that will study Maine’s ethics rules applying to lawmakers and recommend possible changes.

Democratic leaders said earlier this session that ethical breaches at the federal level prompted the Maine review. House Speaker John Richardson and Senate President Beth Edmonds said the panel will review rules and laws that are not campaign-related.

A final report is due in December, after the next election is over, said Richardson, D-Brunswick.

Edmonds, D-Freeport, said the 15 Ethics Advisory Committee members are “a very experienced group of people, nonpartisan, non-insider.”

The members include Democrat and former attorney general and former legislator Michael Carpenter; Republican and former transportation commissioner Roger Maller; and Green-Independent John Rensenbrink, co-founder of Maine Greens and former U.S. Senate candidate.

Three members from the public include Sandra Featherman, former president of the University of New England; Kristine Ossenfort, governmental affairs specialist for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce; and Peter Pitegoff, dean and law professor at the University of Maine School of Law.

Also serving is G. Calvin Mackenzie, a former member of the state Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices and professor of American government at Colby College, and two former legislators, Mark Lawrence, former Senate president and current York County district attorney; and Harrison Richardson, former House majority leader.

Four current members of the Legislature will also serve. They are Sen. Philip Bartlett II, D-Gorham, Rep. Marilyn Canavan, D-Waterville and former executive director of the Commission on Governmental Ethics; Sen. Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, and Rep. John Robinson, R-Raymond.

Two members representing the interests of citizen lobbyists are Edith Leary and Richard Thompson.

The Maine panel’s membership was announced after the U.S. Senate voted for an amendment to ban all gifts from lobbyists, including meals. The base bill prohibits gifts and say that meals would be permissible only if they are made public.


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