June 24, 2018
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Maine Democratic Party files records request to learn what LePage knew about document shredding

Mario Moretto | BDN
Mario Moretto | BDN
Gov. Paul LePage
By Scott Thistle, Sun Journal

AUGUSTA, Maine —The Maine Democratic Party on Monday announced it had filed a public records request of Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s office asking for information about a change in funding for Healthy Maine Partnerships in 2011.

The funding change orchestrated by the Maine Center for Disease Control has come under fire after a CDC worker filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit against the state alleging she was ordered to destroy public records. When she refused to do so, she said she was assaulted and harassed by her politically appointed supervisors.

Last week, that former worker and her attorney said the Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into the Maine CDC’s actions around the redistribution of the funding, which is largely federal tobacco-settlement funds.

That information comes after the Legislature’s investigative arm, the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability, released a report that confirmed parts of the employee’s allegations.

Sharon Leahy-Lind has said she was told to destroy documents that showed how the funding for 27 Healthy Maine Partnership programs was redistributed after a state budget cut in 2011. Leahy-Lind said she was told to destroy documents showing scoring criteria used to determine which Healthy Maine Partnership program would become lead agency, after the Sun Journal requested that information under the state’s open records laws.

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said Monday the public has a right to know what LePage knew about the situation and when he knew it regarding the scandal at the Maine CDC, an agency within the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. Grant also was demanding LePage’s administration take action.

The Democrats have asked for all communications between LePage’s office and DHHS regarding the Healthy Maine Partnership programs.

“We’ve been told by Governor LePage that ‘actions speak louder than words,’ but right now we have neither from his office,” Grant said in a prepared statement. “It’s time to find out if Governor LePage or his staff applied any pressure on the CDC to rig the HMP scoring. It’s time to find out if Governor LePage or his staff played any role in the subsequent cover-up at the CDC, and if they had any part in pressuring CDC staff to shred documents.”

Messages to LePage’s communications staff were not immediately returned Monday.

Watch bangordailynews.com for updates.


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