LePage’s campaign truth squad bill dead after only 1 legislator votes in favor of it

Posted April 11, 2014, at 5:27 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The House of Representatives killed a proposal by Gov. Paul LePage to have the Maine Ethics Commission serve as a campaign speech lie detector on Friday with a vote of 146-1.

After a unanimous vote against the bill in the Senate on Thursday, the bill is dead.

The only lawmaker to vote in favor of the bill was Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, who said during a speech on the House floor Friday that she wanted the measure passed so it could be used against LePage.

“It is absolutely imperative that a government agency give us a hand up on the truth,” said Russell. “If the chief executive wants candidates to be held accountable when they tell a whopper of a fish story on the campaign train, who exactly are we to stand in his way?”

LD 1834 would have tasked the Maine Ethics Commission, whose current role is administering the state’s campaign finance laws, to perform investigations around the accuracy of campaign statements in House, Senate and gubernatorial races. Ethics Commission officials have said that current laws do not give them authority to do that and that taking on the new role would be difficult to achieve with current resources.

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