AUGUSTA — State Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, said Tuesday that he’s eager to get to work as a member of the Legislature’s watchdog committee.

“The Government Oversight Committee is critically important in safeguarding the integrity and efficiency of state government,” Libby, the assistant leader of the Senate Democrats, said.

The 12-member oversight panel, which Libby is serving on for the first time, has the responsibility for independent, objective reviews of state spending, programs and activities.

“Over the past several years, we’ve seen the importance of the committee’s work,” Libby said.

He cited its role in an investigation into the Maine Turnpike Authority that resulted in jail time for a former state official who stole hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, as well as a well-publicized document-shredding case at the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention.

The panel, whose membership is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, is in the midst of a multi-year probe into the tax breaks that Maine offers businesses, to determine their usefulness.

Libby has logged two terms on the Taxation Committee and one term on the State and Local Government Committee.

The Government Oversight Committee has six senators and six representatives. They oversee the Legislature’s Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability that has the task of ensuring tax dollars are spent appropriately and that the executive branch is doing its job properly.

The committee is charged with conducting objective, independent performance audits of state government programs and activities to ensure they are achieving efficient results.

It also has jurisdiction over nonstate entities that receive state funds or are established to perform governmental functions, including the Turnpike Authority and the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority.


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