The online Maine Examiner, which is in the middle of a political spat between Democrats and Republicans, remains a mystery to Gov. Paul LePage.

During an interview with Maine Public’s “Maine Calling” radio show Tuesday, the governor denied any knowledge of the conservative-oriented website at the center of an ethics complaint filed by the Maine Democratic Party.

“I don’t know anything about it,” LePage said.”What’s the Maine Examiner?”

The Maine Examiner, which is published anonymously, has been publishing conservative-leaning stories since September, including a series that ran shortly before Lewiston’s mayoral runoff election in December focused on controversial internal campaign emails written by Ben Chin, who lost narrowly to Republican Shane Bouchard.

Pointing to digital footprints discovered in the site’s metadata and error logs, Democrats claim the GOP has direct ties to the site, perhaps violating state campaign finance laws. Those digital records indicate some sort of connection between the Examiner and Jason Savage, the executive director of the Maine Republican Party.

Phil Bartlett, the state Democratic chairman, said LePage “frequently likes to say that he doesn’t know about a lot of the things going on around him, but if he truly doesn’t know about the dishonest behavior that his party has been engaging in, then we would encourage him to pick up the phone and call Jason Savage, who is well-versed in the operation of the Maine Examiner.”

“We hope the governor would tell Savage that peddling misleading information in a deceitful way is below the standard of the Republican Party, but after seven years of the governor’s own misinformation and lack of transparency, we’re just not sure that’s true,” Bartlett said.

The GOP has denied any wrongdoing. Savage has not yet explained his role. The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices plans to discuss the Democrats’ complaint at its February meeting.

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Gov. Paul LePage (File photo)


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