January 23, 2020
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LePage met 8 times with the Constitutional Coalition. These are the notes he took.

BDN | Christopher Cousins
BDN | Christopher Cousins
Members of the Maine Constitutional Coalition held a press conference at the State House in Augusta on Aug. 14. Pictured from left are Phil Merletti, Wayne Leach and Jack McCarthy.

This summer, there was a brief media furor over revelations that Gov. Paul LePage met eight times with members of a controversial group called the Constitutional Coalition when he refused to meet with many other groups, including Democratic legislative leaders.

Liberal blogger Mike Tipping, in his book “As Maine Went,” tied the coalition members to the Sovereign Citizens, a group that the FBI put on a national watch list. Tipping reported in his book that during the meetings with LePage, there was talk of executing state Democratic leaders for treason.

In two angry phone calls to the Bangor Daily News in June, LePage vehemently denied that execution was discussed and threatened to sue the paper and Tipping that night.

Attendees at the meetings said the governor took extensive notes. So, the BDN asked for them. In the second phone call, LePage said Tipping and the BDN could have his notes. But, he said, they are in shorthand and code that only mean something to him.

On Tuesday, in response to a request for the notes under the state’s Freedom of Access law, the governor’s office sent one page of handwritten notes to the BDN. They were not in code.

FOAA Document

When asked why only one page was provided when other attendees at the meeting said they governor took lots of notes, the governor’s legal counsel replied: “the document provided represents everything in our possession that was responsive to your request.”

The office invoiced the BDN for $60 for the one page. The fee was later waived because LePage himself had said he would provide the notes.

The notes mentioned a supposedly disappearing 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution six times. The Titles of Nobility Amendment, which said that U.S. citizens could not hold titles of nobility, was passed by Congress and ratified by 12 states by December 1812, Newsweek reported in 2010. But, then the War of 1812 occurred, interest in the amendment waned and the number of states in the union increased, raising the threshold needed to ratify the amendment.

For some, like members of the Constitutional Coalition, the term “esquire,” which refers to lawyers, is a title of nobility. That explains why “thirteenthers” — as those who seek to restore the Titles of Nobility Amendment are known — hold special contempt for lawyers, judges and the state and national Bar Associations. All of these groups are mentioned in LePage’s notes.

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ended slavery.


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