The Maine People’s Alliance revealed Tuesday that one of its “spies” secretly recorded Gov. Paul LePage as he spoke to a meeting of the Informed Women’s Network.
According to MPA’s blogger Mike Tipping, LePage said on the recording that he declared a civil emergency in order to help state workers get unemployment insurance as quickly as possible during the partial federal shutdown. The recording also reveals that labor bosses with the Maine State Employees Association, rather than cooperate with the governor on helping their members get unemployment benefits as quickly as possible, refused to negotiate and instead threatened lawsuits.
For Tipping, however, LePage’s remarks are the most scandalous scandal to ever scandalize Maine politics.
He quotes the governor from the recording as follows: “I met with unions a week ago. I said, folks, we’ve gotta worry about the employees. If they shut down they’re gonna be without work, so we have to make a deal, you know lets work on finding a way to get them money as quickly as possible. And this is what they told me: ‘well, we’ll watch how you manage this crisis and we will look at our position when it’s over and if we have the ability to sue, we’ll sue.’ So, I thought about it and we exercised the civil emergency which means that their contract is null and void until after the crisis.” (Interestingly, the audio recording Tipping later put online includes just 48 seconds of a meeting that lasted more than an hour.)
Founder and President of the Informed Women’s Network Susan Dench said the governor’s appearance at the IWN meeting was fantastic.
“He was well spoken and really did a fantastic job … He didn’t bash the other side as much as talk about how he wants to bring the state back through education, employment and energy,” said Dench.
“We are happy that the Maine People’s Alliance sent some of its activists to our meeting,” she said. “The Informed Women’s Network is always looking for new members and all political persuasions are welcome.”
Dench said it was unfortunate though that pro-union activists would seek to distract the public from the work the governor is doing to help state workers get by during the partial federal shutdown.
“Next time, Mike Tipping should come himself rather than sending spies. He would be welcomed with open arms,” she said. “I just hope he and his activist pals try and learn something if they plan on infiltrating our meetings.”
Maine Wire Reporter