Anti-transparency Poliquin tells donors he ducks questions because he “could lose this seat”

Rep. Bruce Poliquin

While Rep. Bruce Poliquin doesn’t like to answer reporters’ questions about his positions and doesn’t hold open town hall meetings constituents can attend, he was open to donors at a closed door fundraiser in Bangor.

Audio from someone there was given to the Beacon.

In the Beacon’s second piece about the fundraiser, Poliquin says that he won’t go on television to defend his positions or take questions from reporters who encounter him because it would be “ammunition” that could make it harder for him to win re-election.

Poliquin said there are so many reporters who want to ask him questions and they want him, a congressman, to allow his words to be reported so that everyone can read them. That’s not something he wants.

“Now, I will tell you, anywhere you go in D.C. when you’re coming out of my office building or coming out of a tunnel or going across the street trying to not get mowed down – you think the press is bad in Maine? It’s unbelievable. And they are dying to get you on record,” said Poliquin. “As soon as you go down that path, you are in the swamp. You are exactly where they want you to be. Do not take the bait. 

When asked about talking on national television to defend his views (as Senators Collins, Senator King, and Rep. Pingree do), Poliquin said that would be “stupid” because it would hurt his re-election chances.

“Do I talk to the national media? Not often. I’ve been dying to do what you want me to do. Dying to do it, but we’ve got to be very – it would be stupid for me to engage the national media and give them and everyone else the ammunition they need and we lose this seat. We have to be really careful.”

Needless to say, this anti-transparency strategy shows Poliquin knows he has positions that are disliked by his constituents.

Poliquin voted for a bill that slashed coverage and used the cuts to fund massive tax reductions for the very wealthy. According to national polls, this was very, very disliked.

By the way, the Beacon’s first piece about this closed door fundraiser included Poliquin lying about Medicaid by saying it’s a lie that House Trumpcare cut Medicaid. In fact, the CBO report showed that Medicaid cuts led to the bill’s biggest share of coverage reductions.

Poliquin also at least implicitly criticized Sen. Collins, who has rightly noted that Medicaid cuts in Trumpcare would have hurt vulnerable populations and injured the viability of rural hospitals on which so many Mainers depend.

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.