Earlier this week, Republican operative Michael Pajak was hired as a deputy commissioner in the Department of Conservation by commissioner Bill Beardsley. Pajak served as Beardsley's campaign manager during his recent attempt at the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Evidence posted in October at the blog AsMaineGoesLolz had suggested that Pajak was the man behind an online identity on the conservative-leaning As Maine Goes message board called The Distributist and that he had written a series of offensive and hateful forum posts using the pseudonym, often targeting gays and Muslims. At the time, I interviewed Pajak about the posts for a piece at Down East and he pointedly declined to deny having written them.
On Friday, soon after MPBN reporter Susan Sharon started asking questions about Pajak's online activities, it was announced that Pajak would no longer be filling the position.
I have a post on all this that will be up soon at Down East.
There's also a thread going on AMG that should provide for some enjoyable reading. I see I've already been compared to the Puritans and the Khmer Rouge,
My column in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel today is about the LePage administration breaking its promises of transparency, particularly regarding the influence of out-of-state corporations and their lobbyists on proposed environmental rollbacks. It relies heavily on some great investigative journalism done by Colin Woodard and Susan Sharon.
Since I wrote the column, the LePage administration has announced that Carlisle McLean will be joining their team as Senior Policy Advisor. McLean also worked at the law and lobbying firm Preti Flaherty, where, according to current and past reporting from MPBN, she lobbied for the Toy Industry Association against the ban on the toxic chemical bisphenol A. McLean is not listed as having represented the organization in the state lobbying database.
LePage staffers Dan Demeritt and Dan Billings both emailed me today to push back on some of the examples of apparent dishonesty by the administration. Read more »