Rep. John Andrews (R-Paris) wants to close the lawmaker-to-lobbyist pipeline that keeps much of Maine’s political class employed and on the take.
LD 521, “An Act to Prevent Political Patronage with Regard to State Legislators,” would place new restrictions on the kinds of jobs ex-lawmakers can take once they leave the legislature.
The law wouldn’t take effect until the next legislature, but under the bill that class of lawmakers would be prohibited from taking a job at a state agency for fours years after their elected position ended.
The bill would also apply to any non-profit that relies on government funding to operate.
The problem the bill seeks to address is one that has been endemic to Augusta’s culture for years.
While the job of a Maine state lawmaker is not a high paying one, the relationships one makes — and the favors one hands out — can often lead to lucrative post-legislative employment lobbying for one of Maine’s major law firms.
Even more job opportunities can be found for the well-connected ex-lawmaker in Maine’s sprawling field of government-tied nonprofits.
Andrews’ bill would be enforced by the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.
The plan has a host of co-sponsors, including Sens. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin) and Peter Lyford (R-Penobscot); and Reps. David Boyer (R-Poland), Randall Greenwood (R-Wales), Dave Haggan (R-Hampden), and Walter Riseman (I-Harrison).