Potential ethics violations are piling up for Democrats in Augusta.
Earlier this week, Rep. Sheldon Hanington, R-Lincoln, submitted a letter to the Maine Ethics Commission calling for an investigation into former Rep. Adam Goode, D-Bangor, for illegal lobbying work he has engaged in during this legislative session.
Goode, who formerly served as chair of the Taxation Committee in the 127th Legislature, is accused of violating a law that prohibits former state legislators from serving as paid lobbyists for one year after their service ends. The statute, passed unanimously by the Maine Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Paul LePage, reads, “A person who has served as a legislator may not engage in activities that would require registration as a lobbyist or lobbyist associate for one year after that person’s term as a legislator ends.”
To be clear, the law actually prevents former legislators from engaging in lobbying activities in Maine for more than eight hours a calendar month after service in the legislature. However, in Goode’s case, he has been in Augusta daily since session started, sparking controversy over whether he is abiding by the new law.
“We totally understand and support this law. I’m well under eight hours a month,” Goode told the Bangor Daily News. “I’ve documented all my time.”
However, Hanington’s letter claims that Goode has been lobbying in Augusta on behalf of his employer, the Maine AFL-CIO, throughout the current legislative session. Additionally, the letter alleges that Goode introduces himself at the State House as the “Legislative and Political Director” of the Maine AFL-CIO, has provided testimony on a flurry of bills in front of several different committees, and has told legislators that he’s “here to lobby.”
The Maine GOP responded to the accusations by calling on Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, to “take action to protect the integrity of the Maine House of Representatives.” Gideon has not responded to the allegations against Goode and remains perched atop her partisan fencepost. Earlier this session, Gideon prevented an investigation into another Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Ryan Tipping of Orono, who was accused of having a conflict of interest after he accepted $9,000 in payments from a PAC backing Question 2 last November.
After receiving Hanington’s request, the Maine Ethics Commission has scheduled a public meeting of the agency’s five commissioners to review Goode’s case, which is slated for April 18. After the hearing, the ethics commission will determine whether Goode has violated the law and if further investigation into his lobbying practices is necessary.
If found in violation, Goode is subject to fines up to $1,000.