LePage: Financial disclosure “disrespects” voters

In explaining a slew of vetoes — ten at the same time — Gov. LePage contended that one bill demonstrated a lack of respect toward voters.

The very same day the governor sort-of apologized for his vulgar “Vaseline” comments, he vetoed a bill that required donors to a governor’s transition effort to reveal who they were and how much they gave.

LePage said the law to require more transparency in transition funding questions the integrity of the governor-elect and “disrespects the decision made at the ballot box,” when voters implicitly express their confidence in the winning candidate’s ethics. [Source]

In his view, letting the election’s decision-makers know where transition money comes from is a mark of disrespect.

But who is LePage talking about when he’s thinking of those behind “the decision made at the ballot box”?

Would it be just the voters who supported the winner who, according to the governor, implicitly expressed their confidence in the winning candidate’s ethics?

Now, in Maine it’s not unusual for most voters to have chosen a candidate other than the winner. It’s happened many times, including when Gov. LePage was elected.

So it could be LePage is concerned with protecting the tender feelings of a minority of voters, the ones who feel good about having their candidate win the election and take office.

They could feel disrespected and that would be bad. As governor, he must make sure they don’t suffer negative emotions.

Why would the winning candidate’s voters feel insulted if there was new information available about the candidate for whom they voted?

Surely they might want to evaluate how that candidate, now an elected official, is acting and to learn where his or her money has come from.

And don’t those who didn’t vote for the new governor — whether a majority or minority of voters — deserve to know about the transition funding?

The logic is rather upside down.

Voters are respected when they given more information.

It is not a sign of respect to keep information from them.

After all, this is about money to elected officials, not some secret that could hurt national security.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.