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Mother Jones on "LePage's Secret Puppeteers"

My recent Portland Phoenix story "LePage's Secret Puppeteers" -- on how Maine Governor Paul LePage outsourced the creation of his regulatory reform package to lobbyists for outside corporations -- has been picked up by Mother Jones, which has been doing a lot of hard-hitting reporting on the national Tea Party movement.

The piece has also made its way into the Lewiston Sun Journal, the Kennebec Journal, and the Portland Press Herald, though the latter paper swiped the article's findings without noting where they came from. Read more »

Focus on Cutler Files Distracts from Worse Violators

"Finally, we can turn the page on one of the sorriest chapters in Maine's mostly proud political history", said the editorial page of the Maine Sunday Telegram on January 30, in a sharply worded editorial condemning a violation of state campaign finance laws.

Reading only that, one might reasonably conclude that the editors were speaking of the actions of the Republican State Leadership Committee. Eleven days before the election last November, the Alexandria, Virginia based RSLC spent $400,000 on TV, radio and mail in opposition to five Democratic State Senate Candidates. More importantly, the RSLC violated state law by failing to report these expenditures on time. All five of their targets were using Maine Clean Elections Act funds, and were deprived of timely matching funding to respond to the attacks. All five were defeated.

Such a sizable late expenditure that fails to comply with Maine’s excellent system of campaign finance reporting is indeed alarming and worthy of strong condemnation.

Sadly, that’s not what the Telegram was doing. No, they were putting-in what we can only hope is the final word on the dreaded "Cutler Files": the website critical of Eliot Cutler, created by Dennis Bailey and Thom Rhoads. Read more »

Bad Press

For the best comments on the PPH anti-Muslim fiasco, read Justin Ellis and Al Diamon.

See this for the same gist but simpler and with more color.

Columnist Was A Repeat Offender

As Al Diamon noted in a post last week, Portland Press Herald columnist Leigh Donaldson recently parted ways with the paper due to his commission of plagiarism.

Despite Donaldson's claim that "this has never happened before. I’m usually very careful about attributing," Anneli Rufus, the author at AlterNet from whom Donaldson copied, says his intellectual dishonesty is part of a pattern.

In a follow-up piece at AlterNet, Rufus gives proof that Donaldson also plagiarized two other columns and says that "they’re not the only ones."

It's difficult to tell how many of Donaldson's columns are plagiarized as he seems to have slightly reworded each unattributed, stolen passage, making detection through an internet search more difficult. Donaldson finally got caught, according to Rufus, after he claimed to have interviewed a Florida detective who he never actually spoke to. The detective then contacted Rufus, who had actually conducted the interview, and the jig was up.

Tom Allen, Lobbyist

From the Press Herald:

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Allen has been hired to run the trade group that represents American book publishers.

The former six-term Democratic congressman from Portland, who ran an unsuccessful campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Susan Collins last year, will be president and chief executive officer of the American Book Publisher's Association, the group announced today.


The blog got a mention in a Portland Press Herald article this morning:

Faircloth put out news releases noting endorsements, including one from a former attorney general and several from district attorneys.

Brautigam videotaped the Pierce Atwood debate and put it up on YouTube, noted blogger Mike Tipping in his Maine Politics blog.

The race has drawn the attention of other Maine media outlets. Newspapers have run several stories, and editorials have suggested changes to how the attorney general is elected.

For those of you just tuning in, here are my thoughts on the race. The Democrats will make their nomination later today.

Press Herald Sold

The Portland Press Herald has been sold to Maine Media Investments, a company owned by U.S. Sen. Bill Cohen, Robert Baldacci and Michael Liberty, according to the Busby-Diamon tag team.

Update: A "purchase agreement" has been signed, but the deal is not yet final, according to today's PPH article.

Submit Questions for US Senate Debate

To suggest questions for tomorrow's Portland Press Herald/WMTW debate, which will be streamed live online, email wmtwpph@gmail.com.

Susan Collins Wins Press Herald Endorsement

Susan Collins won the endorsement of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday telegram this weekend. The editorial board based their decision on Collins' history of bipartisan accomplishment in the Senate.

Also in the paper on Sunday was an article on Allen's difficulty gaining traction in the second district. Talking to local volunteers, it's clear that Collins has a big edge over Allen in name recognition in northern and central Maine.

It'll be interesting to see how the next polls look. A result of 8 points difference or less would be a boon to Allen and show he's closing in. A result going the other way may signal that his advertising isn't working and that the race is out of his reach.

Collins was quick to send a copy of the endorsement to her email list on Sunday.

Press Herald CD1 Endorsement Interview Video

The Press Herald has also posted three clips from an interview with the first district congressional candidates. Here they discuss health care:

Click read more to see the other clips. Read more »