Planning office acting director, treasurer for LePage’s campaign fired after OUI charge

Posted Feb. 14, 2012, at 12:38 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 14, 2012, at 6:12 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The acting director of the State Planning Office, who also serves as treasurer for Gov. Paul LePage’s reelection campaign, has been fired from his state job after he was charged over the weekend with operating under the influence.

Richard Swanson Jr., 64, of Oakland, was asked by the governor’s staff on Tuesday to resign, according to Adrienne Bennett, the governor’s spokeswoman.

“It is with deep regret that I hereby resign my position as acting director of the Maine State Planning Office,” Swanson wrote. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve in your administration.”

Waterville Deputy Police Chief Charles Rumsey said Swanson was driving on Lincoln Street in Waterville late Monday when an officer stopped him for driving erratically.

Swanson was subjected to field sobriety tests and subsequently was taken to the police station for a blood alcohol level test, Rumsey said. His level was over the legal limit of 0.08 and police charged him with OUI and then released him on $700 bail, the deputy chief said.

Only a few hours after news of Swanson’s resignation broke, Bennett announced that Peter Rogers would take over as the SPO’s acting director. Last week, Rogers decided to step down as LePage’s director of communications, a post he held for eight months. Rogers previously worked in public affairs for the Maine Army National Guard.

Swanson had been acting director of the State Planning Office since November of last year. He took over for Daryl Brown, who resigned after helping draft recommendations to create an executive Office of Management and Policy that would effectively replace the planning office.

Brown also was LePage’s first choice for commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. He was forced to step down from that role early last year after the attorney general concluded he had a conflict of interest because of his ownership of a consulting firm that has extensive dealings with the DEP.

Swanson’s status as treasurer of LePage’s reelection campaign was unchanged as of early Tuesday afternoon, according to the governor’s senior political adviser Brent Littlefield.

“We just got this information and have not had a conversation,” Littlefield said by telephone. “If you look at the man, he has an absolutely incredible resume. It’s unfortunate right now.”

Swanson kept the books for LePage’s successful 2010 campaign for governor. He also serves as treasurer for Maine People Before Politics, a nonprofit group founded with LePage’s transition team money that advocates the governor’s accomplishments.

Prior to that, Littlefield said, Swanson was a finance executive for DuPont, one of the world’s largest chemical companies.

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