The Maine GOP has discovered audio of Rep. Ryan Tipping unabashedly admitting what we have alleged; he has been in violation of the Maine House of Representative's Legislative Code of Ethics since last year.
The one thing Rep. Tipping forgot to mention in the audio is that by "helping with outreach for the campaign," he meant getting paid to lobby his fellow legislators.
Please share this with your friends and family to help get the truth out.
Ryan Tipping: "There's a lot of people who make that their mission, to stop minimum wage increases. We have had a few votes but it was really only the first one where there was strong debate, I think the rest were theater. Maybe those guys were getting paid per vote."
Interviewer: So just on the Stand Up for Students Thing "We should take advantage of this" we have a member of the taxation committee and the education committee here on this taxation and education issue, maybe you guys can explain a little bit of what it is and what it does and what do you see the prospects for November.
Ryan Tipping: I'm actually helping with outreach for the campaign reaching out to elected officials and in municipalities. The reason why we are talking to them is because they are actually getting the blunt end of what's been going on at the state house the last 6 or 8 years...
Maine GOP has credible reason to believe that Representative Tipping was using his elected position for personal gain
This Wednesday the Maine Republican Party filed Freedom of Access Requests with Representative Ryan Tipping and Speaker Sarah Gideon.
The requests stem from the information that Representative Tipping was paid $9,000 by a tax hike referendum PAC to campaign for a higher taxes while he was an active Representative and running as a clean elections candidate.
Maine GOP Executive Director Jason Savage explained, "We have credible reason to believe that Representative Tipping is in violation of the Maine Legislature's Code of Ethics, which clearly states, "No Maine Legislators will accept any employment that will impair their independence and integrity of judgment nor will they exercise their position of trust to secure unwarranted privileges for themselves or for others. The Maine Legislator will be ever mindful of the ordinary citizen who might otherwise be unrepresented and will endeavor conscientiously to pursue the highest standards of legislative conduct inside and outside of the State House.
"We believe Representative Tipping used his position on the Education Committee and as a sitting legislator to cash in on consulting fees from a PAC and use that influence on other elected officials.
"Furthermore, we have questions as to why Representative Tipping moved from the Education Committee to the Taxation Committee and named Chair when there were returning Representatives who have more experience than Rep. Tipping."
The Maine GOP has also established a FOAA Fund to help with the cost of recently filed FOAAs.
Letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley expresses support of Legal Counsel to State Parties across nation
Augusta – Today Maine Republican Party General Counsel Timothy J. Bryant, Esq. joined attorneys from 35 other state Republican Parties by submitting a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to support President Trump's nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
"The undersigned attorneys represent the various state Republican parties in the roles of General Counsel or Senior Counsel, and believe that Judge Gorsuch embodies an exceptionally qualified scholar of the law that has exhibited respect for our Constitution, including the Separation of Powers and the 10th Amendment," The letter reads in part.
Timothy J. Bryant, General Counsel of the Maine Republican Party, said when asked about the letter of support: "It is an honor to be involved in helping the Maine Republican Party express its support for such a bright and talented nominee to the United States Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch is an exceptionally qualified legal scholar who has both the experience and temperament needed to serve on our nation’s highest court."
The 36 attorneys that signed the letter serve as general counsel to one of 32 state Republican Parties. Some state parties do not have a general counsel role or currently have a vacancy in the role.
Maine Republican Party Chairman Demi Kouzounas added, “We are honored as an organization to have our General Counsel sign on and support Judge Gorsuch. Perhaps our most important responsibility as a party is ensuring the rights we hold dear are protected. Our support today for Judge Gorsuch demonstrates our commitment to that responsibility.”
Documents Reveal House Taxation Committee Chair Paid $9,000 By Tax Hike Referendum Group
GOP Chair Dr. Demi Kouzounas calls on House Democrats to reassign Rep. Tipping, and for Tipping to recuse himself from issue of 3% income tax increase
AUGUSTA – The Maine Republican Party today is exposing a financial connection between the House Chair of the Maine Legislature's Taxation Committee, and the group that funded the 3% income tax hike in the November election.
“We are bringing this information into the public eye because the people deserve to know,” said Maine GOP Chairman Demi Kouzounas. “We request swift action from House Democrats to remedy this situation, and restore confidence in the Taxation Committee as they undertake work that will impact every person in the state of Maine.”
At issue are campaign finance documents revealing Rep. Ryan Tipping, D-Orono (formerly known as Tipping-Spitz), was paid $9,000 by Citizens Who Support Maine’s Public Schools, the official Political Action Committee for Yes on Question 2.
“Rep. Tipping should not be Chair of a committee of jurisdiction whose singular most important issue this legislative session is one he has already been paid to support,” said Dr. Kouzounas.
“I would also like to highlight that Rep. Tipping was a Clean Elections candidate while he was receiving these payments.”
In 2016 Rep. Tipping’s legislative salary was $9,982, by taking payments from this teacher’s union funded PAC he nearly doubled his salary. The sum of $9,000 is 24 times the limit on a contribution to a general election candidate.
“If this slipped unknown under the radar, it is an unfortunate mistake – but if it was known before Rep. Tipping was assigned his committee, I harbor grave concerns about the judgement of Democratic Leadership,” said Dr. Kouzounas.
“The Maine GOP is calling on House Democrats to reassign Rep. Tipping to a new committee immediately,” insisted Dr. Kouzounas.
“If House Democrats refuse to do so, we call on Rep. Tipping to recuse himself from all votes, hearings and work sessions on this issue, due to his financial ties to the Yes on 2 campaign.”
At the bottom of this email is a screen capture showing the payments made to Rep. Tipping by the Yes on 2 Campaign PAC.
Our response to Rep. Tipping's attempt to evade the issues we raised yesterday:
Response from Jason Savage, executive director, Maine GOP
"Rep. Tipping is trying to muddy the water between his payments from this special interest and our statement regarding his chairmanship of the taxation committee. The fact that Rep. Tipping asked the Maine Ethics Commission a different question last year about these payments has no bearing on our statement regarding his current position as chair of the committee of oversight on this tax hike.
"Rep. Tipping is also trying to confuse the public about the difference between Maine's 'citizen legislature' with a 'special interest legislature'. Rep. Tipping is wrong to compare his taking of special interest payments to support an issue with the honorable service of legislators who have worked entire careers in their field of expertise before serving in Augusta.
"Taking $9,000 from a PAC to serve one side of a tax issue and then jumping over to chair the taxation committee is not the same as what hundreds of honorable 'citizen legislators' have done since Maine's founding. Allowing Rep. Tipping's current situation to continue puts a great big blinking 'For Sale' sign on a government that rightfully belongs to the people of Maine.
"In addition, Rep. Tipping took clean elections taxpayer funding as a candidate, supposedly to keep from being 'biased from big-money interests', but then turned around and took $9,000 from a 'big-money interest' while he was a clean elections candidate.
Maine GOP Thanks USM President Glenn Cummings For Promise To Protect Free Speech On Campus
Phone consultation with USM President positive, affirms University's
commitment to speech on all sides welcome on campus
AUGUSTA – Maine GOP Executive Director Jason Savage released the following statement following a phone conversation with USM President Glenn Cummings.
“I want to thank President Glenn Cummings for taking the time to speak with me, and for his promise to ensure that the event we were discussing will take place without obstruction,” said Jason Savage, Executive Director of the Maine GOP.
“We have been deeply concerned that a group of aggressive protesters were trying to force USM to shut down a speaking appearance by a conservative state lawmaker being planned by a student group,” said Mr. Savage. “These protesters' belief that the campus should shut down an event that presents a viewpoint they disagree with is flat-out wrong.”
“President Cummings' affirmation and promise that USM will remain a faithful guardian of free speech on campus is inspiring to me,” said Mr. Savage. “Higher education administrators across our great nation should look to President Cummings as an example of the courage, integrity and steadfast commitment to free speech that they all should aspire to.”
Maine GOP Chairman Demi Kouzounas applauded the University’s work for the right of students, “USM has done a great job supporting the First Amendment rights of students with all viewpoints, I appreciate President Cummings' commitment to the freedom of his students and the safety of school.”
The event referenced in this statement is: Alien Invasion: Fixing The Immigration Crisis which will be hosted by the USM branch of Young Americans for Freedom on February 16th, 2017.
Maine GOP Chair Demi Kouzounas Statement on
Governor LePage's State of State Address
"Governor LePage's vision remains as strong as ever. While he has already done so much for our state, he is steadfast in the face of an uncertain future after the passing of referendums that put Maine's most vulnerable citizens, our elderly and disabled, in danger.
"We need to move forward as a state, attracting young professionals and businesses, while still keeping our most at risk Mainers in secure situations.
"I stand behind our Governor fully and will assist him in any way necessary to ensure that we do no harm to our great state."
For Immediate Release
February 3, 2017
Contact: Nina McLaughlin; firstname.lastname@example.org
Maine GOP Announces FOAA Of Portland Superintendent
AUGUSTA- Maine GOP is filing a Freedom of Access Act Request with Portland Superintendent, Xavier Botana.
This past Sunday, Mr. Botana penned an open letter to the parents of Portland students in response to a recent alleged hate crime. While Maine GOP felt it was appropriate to address the crime and the potential effect it could have on the community, a portion of the letter stood out as inappropriate:
“More importantly, I want to take this opportunity to encourage all of us to understand the noxious environment in which this deplorable event took place. On Friday, the president signed an executive order barring immigrants from several Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States. This came on the heels of another order to build a wall along the United States’ southern border.
For a long time now, the rhetoric accompanying these actions represents a radical and disturbing departure from the principles on which this country was built and which so many have fought to protect and extend.”
Maine GOP has received numerous complaints regarding these particular paragraphs, some even from school district employees.
Today, Mr. Botana issued a press release explaining that students would be making signs in class and spending the last ten minutes of the school day protesting. The event is organized by students who are currently in a Human Rights course.
While Maine GOP applauds the students for coming together to stand up against allegations of racism, it is these sentences that are concerning and seem to echo Mr. Botana’s political agenda:
“…it is necessary to address both the recent attack at Casco Bay High School and the new government policies targeting refugees and immigrants.”
Maine GOP supports a school environment in which all students and faculty feel welcome regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation and political beliefs.
Forcing students and teachers to give up time taxpayer-funded school time to engage in a partisan agenda promoted by school district officials fosters a hostile environment for anyone who may not share the same political beliefs.
“We have doubts that Mr. Botana is operating alone, and that there may be a bigger partisan agenda at play here,” said Maine GOP Executive Director Jason Savage, “We feel that it would be appropriate to organize this protest outside of school hours with only students and faculty who want to participate.
“Instead, we have taxpayers funding a hostile environment for faculty and students. Students who do not participate during school hours can be singled out for their political beliefs. School is supposed to be an environment where people feel safe and and free to learn and express different thoughts and ideas. We do not believe state or local taxpayers send tens of millions of dollars per year into the Portland school system to promote a political agenda or create a hostile environment for faculty and students.”
Maine GOP's FOAA request will focus on the Superintendents written communications with both outside and internal forces related to his political agenda and activities, as well as groups that may be influencing the Superintendent's actions.