Gov. Paul LePage has transferred a major chunk of his political action committee, ICE PAC, to the Maine Republican Party.

He and two former administration officials run the group, which had raised $385,000 as of Oct. 25. So far, it has spent $199,000, with $193,000 of it going to the state GOP, including a $110,000 transfer on Friday.

This money is being watched by insiders in both parties closely, largely because of LePage’s tenuous relationship with Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport, who is running the effort to keep the Senate majority that LePage has said he expects to lose.

The PAC also hasn’t shed much light on its activities. Reports filed with the Maine Ethics Commission also don’t illuminate much. Most of the money that went to the party was donated in general contributions, but $24,000 was for campaign workers’ salaries.

In September, LePage told reporters at a news conference (at the 16-minute mark) the PAC was formed to help Republican candidates, but he wouldn’t answer questions about who.

“I’m not going to tell you,” he said. “If I tell you, it’s no secret.”

The governor also said that he has been “actively, behind the scenes, supporting candidates and you haven’t caught me yet,” except that’s not entirely true: He played in two Senate primaries, including in Sagadahoc County, where he helped Bowdoin conservative Guy Lebida beat moderate Sen. Linda Baker of Topsham.

Thibodeau and other Republican leaders supported Baker, and they haven’t helped Lebida in a likely uphill battle against former Sen. Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic. That fueled suspicion among some that LePage’s PAC was an extra-party device. That hasn’t proved true, but we’d still like to know more about it.

Officers Michael Hersey and Holly Lusk as well as Maine GOP spokeswoman Nina McLaughlin didn’t respond to a request for comment on Sunday evening. We’ll report back if we find out more.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.