Gov. Paul LePage has released the text of his legislation to close a loophole in state ethics law that has allowed high-level state officials not to report millions in state payments to organizations run by themselves or their family members.
Current law only requires that legislators or high-level state employees report state purchases of goods or services worth more than $1,000 directly from the individual legislator or family member, not from a corporation or entity for which the legislator or family member works.
LePage said in a press release Thursday that he was prompted to introduce the legislation by a Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting story that revealed that between 2003 and 2010 the state paid almost $235 million to such organizations.
The proposed legislation also requires an executive-level state employee whose employment has ended to file financial disclosures within 45 days of leaving that state position. Currently, if that employee left their job before the disclosure deadline, then they wouldn’t have to file a financial disclosure at all.
The lead sponsors for LePage’s bill are Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry, and House Speaker John Nutting, R-Oakland. The bill will be considered by the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans’ and Legal Affairs.