TABOR 2 supporters seek investigation, attorney general says "no"
Augusta, Maine: Supporters of Maine's Question 4, better known as TABOR 2, asked the Maine Attorney General for an investigation into Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell and House Speaker Hannah Pingree's use of staff and positions to oppose the November 2009 ballot measure. "Is it appropriate for the presiding officers to have this sort of meeting where in effect it appears that threats are made and promises given at the same time," said David Crocker, chairman of TABOR Now, on Monday. The allegations were made after supporters obtained a series of emails and information regarding a "closed-door meeting." They argue that the evidence obtained reveals a clear violation of state law. TABOR supporters specifically point to an email from Rick McCarthy, a lobbyist for Maine Tomorrow and former staffer for a state legislator, to a Pingree staffer in which McCarthy said that "20 people at the meeting and that 'ultimately we hope to raise funds from them.'" However, both legislators deny any solicitation of funds and said they were surprised by the allegations.
However, despite the campaigns complaint, Attorney General Janet Mills dismissed the complaint, citing that they hadn't provided sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to warrant an investigation. "We do not initiate investigations in this office unless and until there's a threshold of something to investigate. There's absolutely no suggestion there's any criminal activity," said Mills. Tarren Bragdon, executive director of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, said that he was surprised by the quick dismissal.
Despite the attorney general's response, campaign supporters said they plan to continue the pursuit of an investigation with the state ethics commission.