Collins named second-most bipartisan U.S. senator since 1993

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins scored a top mark on an index of bipartisan senators released by the Lugar Center and Georgetown University on Tuesday.

The Maine Republican was named the second-most bipartisan U.S. senator to serve since 1993 — trailing only Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, who served from 1999 to 2007 as a Republican, was an independent governor and ran for president briefly this year as a Democrat.

It follows a May ranking that named Collins the most bipartisan senator in the last Congress. The index was based on the number of bills sponsored and co-sponsored with members of another party.

In an op-ed in The Hill, former Sen. Richard Lugar, the Lugar Center’s president, said the index’s aim is “to incentivize members of Congress to work together more by giving voters and political commentators a clearer picture of their bipartisan activities.” — Michael Shepherd

Lawmakers accuse lobbyist of concealing his client

The Maine Ethics Commission convenes this morning to consider a complaint by two lawmakers against a lobbyist who they say didn’t properly disclose his client when he testified in support of a health care finance bill earlier this year.

Rep. Ralph Tucker, D-Brunswick, and Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick, D-Bangor, who are both members of the Legislature’s Insurance and Financial Services Committee, say Joel Allumbaugh neglected to tell the committee in May of this year that he was working for the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability when he testified in favor of LD 1305, “An Act to Encourage Health Insurance Consumers to Comparison Shop for Health Care Procedures and Treatment.” The bill has been carried over for consideration when lawmakers return to Augusta in January.

Lobbyists are required by law to disclose who they are representing when they testify for legislative committees. This is the first time a complaint has been filed with the commission since that law was enacted in 2006. Penalties could include suspension of the lobbyist and a fine of up to $5,000.

Allumbaugh is not a full-time lobbyist and owns an Augusta firm that administers health insurance and other benefits for small businesses. However, he is registered as a lobbyist for the Foundation for Government Accountability, which is run by Tarren Bragdon, the former director of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center and leader of the transition team formed after Maine elected Paul LePage governor in 2010. In a response to the complaint against him, Allumbaugh said his failure to disclose his affiliation was an oversight.

Tucker and Gratwick argue that Allumbaugh and the FGA are part of a national effort to unravel the Affordable Care Act and that lawmakers and the public deserve to know who is behind various pieces of legislation.

Ethics Commission Director Jonathan Wayne wrote in a memo to commissioners that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Allumbaugh broke the law. The commission convenes this morning at 9 a.m. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

It’s a bad time to be an ex-Boston athlete

Some former Boston athletes have gotten themselves into hot water of late, a reminder that we should be glad to be rid of at least a couple of these guys.

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.