Treasurer Poliquin responds to ethics complaint about private beach club

AUGUSTA, Maine — State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin has filed a response to the Maine Ethics Commission disputing charges that he failed to disclose his business dealings while running for and accepting his current position.

In the response, Poliquin said he fully complied with “the letter and spirit of the income disclosure requirements and that my sources of income in 2010 created no conflict of interest.”

Last month, a Portland lawmaker asked the state Attorney General’s Office to issue an opinion on whether Poliquin violated Maine’s Constitution by engaging in commerce while serving as treasurer.

The commerce in question is Poliquin’s role in the Popham Beach Club, a $2,000/year private club in Phippsburg that has angered some nearby residents. Poliquin recently applied for and was granted a business permit to expand the club and allow year-round catering functions there.

Article v, Part 3 § 3 of the Maine Constitution reads: “The treasurer shall not, during the treasurer’s continuance in office, engage in any business of trade or commerce, or as a broker, nor as an agent or factor for any merchant or trader.”

Rep. Mark Dion, a Democrat, lawyer and former Cumberland County Sheriff, said it’s important for Maine people to know whether or not Poliquin violated the constitution.

“I’m calling on the Attorney General to provide clarity on this matter in a timely manner,” he said in his letter.

The Attorney General’s Office has not issued an opinion yet, but Dion’s letter also prompted the Maine Democratic Party to file an ethics complaint against Poliquin for failing to disclose his business dealings while running for and accepting the position of state treasurer.

In his response to the ethics complaint, Poliquin answered a number of questions and provided a wealth of details on his various business interests. He also acknowledged that he didn’t disclose all his income but included an amended financial disclosure form that he says should address any technical requirements and clear up any doubt.

Poliquin asked the Ethics Commission to drop the Democrats’ request for a penalty.

“This request is unwarranted and, quite clearly, politically motivated,” he wrote.

The Ethics Commission will rule on this at its Feb. 29 meeting.