For Immediate Release: October 17, 2017
Contact: Garrett Murch, email@example.com
MAINE GOP CALLS OUT FALSE CLAIM FROM PRO-WELFARE EXPANSION GROUP
AUGUSTA – Today, Maine Republican Party Chair Demi Kouzounas responded to a false claim by Mainers for Health Care that expanding Medicaid would save Maine taxpayers money by reducing emergency room visits. A top study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the emergency room savings claim is just plain not true.
"This claim flies in the face of research showing Medicaid expansion does not cut down on costly emergency room visits paid for by hardworking Mainers. No question about it, we have to debate expanding taxpayer-funded healthcare (including for able-bodied adults without children under Question 2). Still, everyone should be honest.
The forces trying to expand welfare in Maine are saying we would save money where the evidence clearly shows we would not. I encourage everyone to look at the research and ask, if Mainers for Health Care is not being straight with you on this, what else might they be misleading you about?"
In 2016, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study examining the effect of Oregon's Medicaid expansion on emergency room use. As National Public Radio reported at the time, "The study of Medicaid patients in Oregon who got Medicaid in 2008 found their ER use stayed high two years after they gained the health insurance coverage — even as they also increased their visits to doctors' offices."
Maine House Corruption Problems Grow: Former House Taxation Committee Chair Faces Investigation For Illegal Lobbying For Union In Maine State House
Former Maine People's Alliance operative and Democrat Tax Committee
Chair Adam Goode Under Ethics Investigation After Serious & Clear
Violations of State Lobbying Laws
AUGUSTA – The Maine Republican Party today is calling upon Speaker Sara Gideon to take action to protect the integrity of the Maine House of Representatives after news that another Democrat involved in recent tax policy issues and associated with Maine's union interests will be investigated by the Maine Ethics Commission, this time for illegal lobbying in violation of recently passed ethics reforms.
The law, passed unanimously by the Maine Legislature and signed by Governor Paul LePage, prohibits former State Legislators from serving as paid lobbyists for one-year after their service in the Legislature ends.
Former State Representative, and organizer for the Maine People's Alliance Adam Goode, of Bangor, has been serving as a paid lobbyist and 'Legislative Director' for the AFL-CIO for much of this legislative session, as shown by documents outlining his regular testimony and first-hand accounts of his constant presence in the state house.
“The facts will show that Adam Goode has been illegally lobbying for the AFL-CIO for weeks,” said Maine GOP Chair Demi Kouzounas. “Maine Ethics disclosure shows that in the past, the AFL-CIO has consistently registered three lobbyists for budget sessions, but this year has only registered two – due to the fact that Mr. Goode cannot legally register for the work he is actually doing.”
“Just this past week, Mr. Goode was in the state house lobbying for nearly seven hours in just one day, and admitted on mic that he was being paid to lobby specific bills – how can he say with a straight face that he did not exceed eight hours in a month?” asked Jason Savage, executive director of the Maine GOP.
Mr. Goode comes from the same line of Maine People's Alliance organizers that have controlled state government to the detriment of the people of Maine for years. In fact, Goode is Rep. Ryan Tipping's predecessor on the taxation committee, and is known to have appeared on left-wing podcasts with Rep. Tipping in support of the destructive referendums threatening Maine's economy.
“Mr. Goode seems to think he is above the law, but preventing situations such as this is exactly why Maine undertook bipartisan ethics reform – the integrity of the people's government must be protected,” said Dr. Kouzounas.
“Simply refusing to register as a lobbyist, and not putting the lobbyist name tag on his chest does not mean Mr. Goode is not a lobbyist,” said Dr. Kouzounas. “In fact, it makes him the worst kind of lobbyist, one that thinks he is beyond the law and can do as he wishes.”
“We are confident that when the Maine Ethics Commission sees the piles of testimony Mr. Goode has filed with the legislature, and hears first-hand how Mr. Goode has been in the State House day after day all session, that he will be held accountable,” said Mr. Savage.
“Representative Goode's disdain for the law and deflection of poor behavior is yet another reason we need to hold Speaker Sara Gideon accountable," said Maine GOP Chair Demi Kouzounas. “Speaker Gideon now has three close allies under various levels of ethics investigation.”
“Adam Goode's actions violate both the spirit and the letter of the law. As Speaker of the House, Sara Gideon needs to decide whether she will lead with integrity or continue as her allies undermine the integrity of the Maine House of Representatives,” said Dr. Kouzounas. “Thankfully, the people of Maine have public servants like Rep. Sheldon Hanington willing to stand for integrity when Speaker Gideon is attempting to turn a blind eye.”
“The people's government is not meant to play out as a sequel of the movie “Catch Me If You Can”, and if Speaker Gideon does not act, she will be declaring that she is Speaker of the Swamp, not Speaker of the House,” concluded Dr. Kouzounas.
The Bangor Daily News recently reported on this story, but missed much of the nuance in a Friday news dump quoting Mr. Goode.
Three times in recent history, (Speaker Eves at Goodwill Hinckley, Rep Ryan Tipping on conflict of interest, and now Adam Goode on illegal lobbying) Maine Democrats have claimed to have been “cleared” by the Maine Ethics Commission when caught doing something they should not have been doing, each time citing conversations with a member of the Maine Ethics Commisson staff, when they were not, in fact, cleared by any member of the Maine Ethics Commission.
At best, these conversations with Ethics Commission staff should be viewed as informal guidance – not approval to move forward with impunity.
It may be necessary for lawmakers to undertake a reform of the processes that lawmakers must use to get approval for certain activities if Democrats continue to dishonestly hide behind informal conversations with staff at the Ethics Commission as if they were carte-blanche approval of whatever they wish to do.
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...
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.
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.
For Immediate Release: 01/26/2017
Contact: Nina McLaughlin, email@example.com
Last week Maine Dems asked for protests against Senator Collins and Commissioner Mayhew
Leading up to the Women’s March last week, Maine Democrats proved that they don’t care about all women, only about their own progressive DNC issued agenda.
As expected, Maine Democrats have declared yet another Cabinet member chosen by President Trump to be unacceptable and continued to demand that progressives call Senator Collins’ office to complain, whilst citing no specific reasons for the calls.
Additionally, and unusually, they have also focused on their own state.
Citing incorrect data from a misleading BDN article, they accused Commissioner Mayhew of “losing” 1.4 million in federal dollars for the Women, Infants, & Children program.
This is an incredible misrepresentation of the facts.
Commissioner Mayhew explains the truth, “Maine simply stopped moving forward with a significant technology change to convert the WIC coupon booklet, which is currently provided to clients, to an EBT-style card for WIC. Federal requirements do not call for this until 2020. There are 29 other states that have not yet converted to EBT cards for WIC. Since DHHS suspended this project, the $1.4 million provided by the federal government to make the technological changes was returned and repurposed within the WIC program. Maine remains eligible for federal funding to support future technology investments.
“There seems to be a letter-writing campaign based on an inaccurate characterization of the management of the WIC program by the Department, making claims that the Department has jeopardized WIC's ability to provide food. Not only are these allegations completely wrong, it is also totally irresponsible for these entities to perpetuate falsehoods and make WIC recipients nervous about their secure food benefit.
“The WIC program is and will remain intact, and it will continue providing assistance to women and children. The federal funding to provide this service is not under threat.”
Maine GOP Director of Communications, Nina McLaughlin, offered her criticism on the Maine Democrat’s protests, “once again we see a party that is supposedly ‘for women’ launching a war on women. From attacking women with a more conservative perspective like Senator Collins, to a full-on attack based on mistruth with Commissioner Mayhew, I am beyond disappointed.”
Ms. McLaughlin continued, “The most disturbing part of this entire protest is that the Maine Democratic Party stooped so low as to prey on the fears of low income women and their families. This is disgusting and completely reprehensible. They should apologize to the women and families they intentionally misled.”
AUGUSTA- This morning Senator Angus King spoke with WCSH6 on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Using frightening hyperbole that draws comparisons to a terrorist attack, he said, "It's like if you have a big apartment building, with a whole bunch of families, 30 million, just to pick a number. And you say, 'we're going to change your living accommodations, but first we're going to blow up the building.'”
In Maine the media has reported that 80% of single Obamacare enrollees are “insured” by just one company -- a company that is losing tens of millions of dollars yearly. This, combined with exorbitant premiums and unrealistic deductibles, has Americans saying ‘enough is enough’ and pushing for their Members of Congress to repeal the failed healthcare experiment.The problem is clear: The Affordable Care Act doesn’t work. It is not working, and it is not sustainable. Further, the Obamacare mandate to purchase costly health care or pay a fine is absolutely out of line with American values.
Sadly, Senator King appears to be out of touch with negative impacts Obamacare is having on Maine people, instead suggesting the repeal is an effort of personal malice against the outgoing President by Republicans to “get Obama's name out of the law...”
Maine Republican Party Chairman Rick Bennett said: "It is a sad state of affairs when a U.S. Senator is so deluded by partisan politics that he cannot see the very real problems facing millions of Americans and cavalierly dismisses the failings of the so-called Affordable Care Act, a law that is proving to be anything but affordable for Maine businesses and individuals.
"It should be beneath Senator King to engage in this facile rhetoric and fear-mongering. As a self-described ‘Independent’ it is a shame that Senator King is abandoning common sense to partisan talking points. I encourage the Senator to make an actual effort to be independent and take a good hard look at the facts and what can be done to fix health insurance for Maine people.”
For Immediate Release: 11/30/2016
Contact: Nina McLaughlin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maine GOP Chairman Richard Bennett issued the following statement on today’s Legislative Council meeting:
“It is discouraging and disheartening to see Democratic leadership frustrate progress on Riverview and the individuals it treats daily.
Incoming Speaker Sarah Gideon is capitalizing on an obscure technicality straight from the Democrats’ playbook. In doing so, they are denying healthcare to some of Maine’s most vulnerable citizens, and enabling a system which allows those most in need to be denied the care that they so desperately seek.”
Statement from Maine GOP Chairman Rick Bennett on federal court dismissal of Speaker Eves’ political lawsuit
Augusta – Maine GOP Chairman Rick Bennett released the following statement in response to the dismissal of the appeal of Speaker Mark Eves’ political lawsuit against Governor Paul LePage.
“From the beginning, we have stood with Governor LePage as he courageously said ‘enough is enough’ to insider cronyism among liberals in Augusta. Yesterday, a court has once again ruled in favor of Governor LePage’s actions and against Speaker Eves’ politically motivated lawsuit.
“Maine people should never have to accept unqualified applicants procuring well-paid, taxpayer-funded jobs through inside political connections as Speaker Eves had done. Governor LePage, knowing he was risking great personal pain, and expense, shined a bright light on this practice, and won this battle for Maine people.
“Maine is a better place for Governor LePage’s courage in standing up for what is right, and for that we are grateful.”
Speaker Mark Eves filed suit against Governor Paul LePage after Governor LePage expressed his desire to exercise the discretion granted him by the Maine Legislature in distribution of funding to Good-Will Hinckley due to the hiring of Speaker Eves despite a lack of qualifications.
Speaker Eves’ contended that Governor LePage should not be allowed to use the discretion explicitly granted the Governor in the use of the funding. Speaker Eves also made repeated, false accusations of “blackmail” through his attorney, although no act he accused Governor LePage could possibly fit that description.
Before a Legislative oversight committee, Speaker Eves and one of his Legislative staff admitted to internal coordination and communication that led Speaker Eves to be offered the job, which proved Governor LePage’s contentions about the cronyism at play to be absolutely correct. By this time, however, the Maine media had moved on to cover new claims by Speaker Eves’ lawyer that were also false.
Speaker Eves was eventually given a five-figure payment from Good-Will Hinckley at the expense of Maine taxpayers when it became clear he was not going to be awarded the job.
Compounding the situation Speaker Eves had created was the fact that until he interviewed for the job at Good-Will Hinckley, Speaker Eves had been an arch-nemesis of charter schools, building a long track record of doing the bidding of the MEA in trying to kill charter schools at every opportunity. Only when a well-paid opportunity came Speaker Eves’ way could he find a reason to support the existence of charter schools in Maine.
Some also pointed out that the job description for the job Speaker Eves was hired for indicated he would have to violate recently enacted state ethics laws passed with bipartisan support, by functioning as a lobbyist paid to solicit funds from taxpayers while also occupying a seat in the Maine Legislature.
Ultimately, the job descriptions published for the position Speaker Eves sought demonstrated two things: 1) That he did not meet the qualifications for the position. 2) That the primary purpose of him being hired was to ensure continued funding for the school, which would have been in direct conflict with Maine Ethics Laws.