Main Governor Paul LePage is no stranger to controversy. The Tea Party executive has stumbled into a number of embarrassing situations with his penchant for unfiltered, expressive, and often bigoted proclamations.
When discussing Maine’s opioid epidemic, LePage blamed out-of-state drug dealers who travel to the state to sell heroine, claiming that “half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave.”
He has also compared the IRS’s actions to those committed by the Gestapo during the Holocaust, and suggested that Maine State Sen. Troy Jackson – a political rival – was the kind of person who would “give it to the people without providing Vaseline.” The illusion to forced sexual penetration is jarring indeed.
Recent scare tactics deployed by the governor only further underscore his violent and unstatesman-like character, revealing him to be a strongman leader with little patience for dissent or the right of nonprofit groups to operate free of government harassment.
According to The National Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) – the state’s largest environmental nonprofit – LePage has targeted the group’s donors in a smear campaign. The governor’s office has purportedly sent letters out to the group’s supporters, imploring them to cease their financial assistance for NRCM for its opposition to LePage’s thoroughly anti-environmental agenda.
Lisa Pohlmann – the organization’s executive director – explained the atmosphere of intimidation resulting from LePage’s anti-democratic behavior:
Over the past months the governor has produced and publicly displayed a wanted poster about NRCM, attacked us by name in dozens of speeches and radio addresses, and now this week has sent dozens of NRCM members a harassment letter about NRCM…We were founded by Maine people, and after working for 57 years in Maine we can say with total confidence that Gov. LePage is the most anti-environment governor in our history.
This isn’t LePage’s first assault on nonprofits. Last year, he attempted to increase taxation of nonprofit groups in order to cut taxes for large businesses. His proposed plan would affect food banks, Girl Scout troops, and veterans associations.
The loose-cannon LePage appears to possess the mercurial characteristics of his preferred presidential candidate Donald Trump, who he endorsed earlier than many other GOP elected officials.
Common sense would have it that LePage’s intimidation campaign could turn into a potentially ruinous scandal. Considering his political survival to this point, however, it may make no more a difference then his blatant racism.