AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – The Baldacci administration is defending itself against a charge by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights referendum campaign.

TABOR II campaign officials said Gov. John Baldacci’s public safety commissioner, Anne Jordan, abused her power by sending an e-mail to the governor’s staff about the impact of the proposed spending curb law. It says the proposal would eliminate a $50,000 payment to families of law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMTs who die in the line of duty.

Baldacci aide David Farmer told the Kennebec Journal in Augusta that it’s “perfectly appropriate” for commissioners to inform members of the governor’s staff of potential public policy implications of the citizen initiative.

Farmer says the critics are trying to “take advantage of a slow news cycle in August.”

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