Longtime LePage antagonist asks feds to probe Maine warden service

Good morning from Augusta, where great music is cheap. With my car in the garage, I’m driving my sister’s for the day and I noticed that she has a (an?) “A Decade of Steely Dan” CD in her car with the price tag still on it: $2.97.

That’s a lot of great music for not much coin. Some retailer somewhere definitely got the short end of that deal. On the other hand, YouTube has it for free. Here’s your soundtrack from the jazzy side of their stellar repertoire, perfect for a Monday morning.

For the first time in a while, there are some events going on at the State House this week. There are committees meeting Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to interview some of Gov. Paul LePage’s nominations to boards and commisssions. Those are in the lead-up to the Senate convening Aug. 4 to consider the committees’ recommendations.

The Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee is meeting on Thursday. We’ll brief you later this week on that, but there’s usually something interesting when it comes to watchdogging the government. On Wednesday, the Right to Know Advisory Committee will meet for discussions about a range of public access issues that were borne from bills enacted this year in the Legislature. Check out the agenda by clicking here.

No big revelations here, except for a lead on cheap Steely Dan albums, but you’re hereby set up for the week. — Christopher Cousins

Lawmaker submits complaint against IF&W over warden’s conduct

Independent Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos of Friendship has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice that seeks a federal investigation against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife over the conduct of an undercover warden.

The Portland Press Herald has had the lead on this story, since it originally published its North Woods Lawless package in May. Evangelos, who is not seeking re-election to his seat, said Monday that his complaint has already generated a lot of interest since he filed it last week.

The warden service has castigated the story as inaccurate, and the Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee chose not to take action on the matter after holding a public hearing.

“This is a scandal,” said Evangelos. “I now have criminal defense lawyers contacting me. It’s really bad, what’s going on.”

Evangelos, who was one of the leaders of a failed effort to impeach Gov. Paul LePage earlier this year, has regularly clashed with the administration over what he believes are abuses of power and violations of the public trust.

Of course, anyone can file a complaint about anything, which means maybe Evangelos’s complaint has legs and maybe it doesn’t. Officials at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have passionately defended their methods, though the ordeal has caused the warden service to discontinue undercover work, for now. — Christopher Cousins

Quick hits

  • Money race: Emily Cain, Democratic challenger for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat, topped Republican incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin in fundraising during the second quarter of 2016, according to Federal Election Commission data. Cain raised $534,000 to Poliquin’s $413,000, but Poliquin has nearly $1 million more than she does in cash on hand.
  • Mainers to keep GOP convention secure: The Washington Post has an interesting rundown on security concerns ahead of this week’s National Republican Convention. One of the most interesting bits comes at the end, where a spokesman for Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson says police officers from Maine will be among will be among the security contingent.

Reading list

An inspiring 9-year-old

It was another very rough weekend in the national news. My heart goes out to police officers everywhere, especially those who know the victims in Baton Rouge.

There are still good things happening in the world. In Fort Fairfield, 9-year-old Eric Helstrom decided to give away a brand new bike he won from his school. That’s pretty amazing for a kid, observed Fort Fairfield Police Chief Shawn Newell.

“When I was his age, the thought of giving a brand new bicycle away would never have crossed my mind,” said Newell.

Me neither. — Christopher Cousins

Bonus soundtrack

Gronk (if you don’t know who Gronk is, this item is not for you) playing air guitar with Paul McCartney on “Helter Skelter” last night? Yeah, you need to see that.


Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.