2014 Gubernatorial Campaign

Hatchetgate: Lawyer behind allegations against LePage has ties to potential 2014 opponents


AUGUSTA – The lawyer who helped fuel sensationalist claims about Gov. Paul R. LePage’s March 21 meeting with state workers is a staunch partisan with political motives for attacking the Governor, according to a report released Monday by the Maine GOP.

David G. Webbert, an Augusta-based attorney who also serves as president of the Maine Employment Lawyers Association, stoked the fires of false controversy last week in interviews he gave to several Maine newspapers.

Several Maine newspapers, starting with the Lewiston Sun Journal, ran stories last week based on the anonymous gossip of disgruntled state workers who claimed LePage illegally pressured Department of Labor staffers to deny unemployment insurance benefits. (Recommended: Disgruntled state workers lie about Blaine House Bully to cover discrimination against employers…)

In interviews with several news outlets, Webbert condemned the Governor and told newspaper reporters that the allegations from anonymous state workers that LePage bullied them were “just the tip of the iceberg.”

But according to the GOP’s press release, Webbert has a history of donating to Democratic politicians and political committees – including potential challengers to LePage’s 2014 re-election bid.

“A review of publicly available political contribution information shows Webbert, who continues to push attacks through the Maine media, has a long history of giving to Maine Democratic candidates and partisan Democrat causes,” Republicans stated in a press release.

According to state and federal campaign finance records, Webbert has a history of giving money to Democratic politicians and political committees. His donations include $500 each to U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Mike Michaud (D-Maine) – both potential challengers to LePage in 2014.

Webbert has also given money to ActBlue and Obama for America – two leftist super PACs, and the Maine Democratic State Committee.

“It’s clear by looking at this information that David Webbert has an axe to grind with Governor LePage,” said Republican Party Chairman Richard M. Cebra.

“The partisan politics being played here to attack Governor LePage with anonymous sources making such stunningly false statements is disturbing,” said Cebra. “Even worse is watching a deeply partisan lawyer with an axe to grind being given credibility and a platform to perpetuate these falsehoods.”

“This is very clearly much more about partisans attacking Governor LePage and aiding his political opponents with a manufactured controversy than anything else,” said Cebra.

“It is ridiculous, and it needs to stop.”

None of the stories that contained interviews with Webbert referenced his overt partisan ties.

The MAINE WIRE analyzed the March 21 meeting between the Governor and Department of Labor staffers as well as the media’s reckless bias in reporting on the story last week. (Recommended: Hatchetgate: The Anatomy of a Hit Piece) 

Webbert did not immediately respond to calls placed to his Augusta law office.

By S.E. Robinson

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About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson is the former editor of The Maine Wire and currently the executive producer of the Kirk Minihane Show. Follow him on Twitter @BigSteve207.

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