Gov. LePage and republican leaders claim democratic lawmaker should resign
AUGUSTA (WGME) – Governor Paul LePage and republican leaders claim a democratic lawmaker should resign, or at least step down as chairman of the Taxation Committee, because he was paid to work for Question 2, a voter-approved referendum that raises some taxes to help pay for education.
Republicans claim it is an inherent conflict of interest.
Governor LePage makes no bones about this one. He thinks this is a case of corruption, but the lawmaker in question, Democrat Ryan Tipping of Orono, says he was simply paid to fight for something in which he believes, and that he broke no rules in doing so.
Representative Tipping was paid $9,000 by the "Vote Yes" side of Question 2, as a campaign consultant and organizer.
Question 2, which passed, puts a 3 percent surtax on income above $200,000 per year.
Despite the vote, the governor says it will hurt Maine, and he wants lawmakers to repeal it, but Tipping is the House Chairman of the Taxation Committee where the whole issue is being debated.
"That's the kind of corruption I've been after for years and years and years,” LePage said. “Some people say it's not corruption. It's just business as usual. But I call that the utmost corruption. You're turning your back on the constituents you're supposed to serve."
CBS 13 checked with the Ethics Commission, which released a statement confirming Tipping did not violate ethics rules, and he says he has no plans to step down.