Maine Republicans called for investigations on Wednesday into Maine Senate President Troy Jackson following a Maine Wire exclusive report that revealed the top Democratic lawmaker misrepresented the location of his primary residence in campaign filings.
The report also included bank and court documents that show Jackson and his longtime girlfriend, Lana Pelletier, may have placed themselves in legal jeopardy by making false statements to an insurance company.
“Troy Jackson appears to be lying about his residency, and the Legislature should investigate and get to the bottom of it,” said Maine GOP Chairman Joel Stetkis.
“In fact, there are a lot of shady elements to this story that deserve scrutiny. Republicans are fighting to make sure accountability and trust are restored to the Maine Legislature — and clearly Troy Jackson is on the other side of those issues,” Stetkis said.
“This is another example of Maine Democrat elites ruling from their ivory tower while breaking the rules that apply to the rest of us. Jackson’s misdeeds are piling up, and if he has truly lied to his constituents about where he lives, he should resign — he can still run for office in his new district!” he said.
Jackson, who claims to reside in Allagash where he owns a property, signed a Federal Housing Authority (FHA) mortgage agreement for a house in Augusta in 2019 that required him to make that house his primary residence.
But at the same time Jackson had sworn to live in Kennebec County, he told the Maine Ethics Commission that he was still living in Allagash, where he continues to own a house.
Despite having sworn to live in Augusta, just 2.1 miles from the State House, Jackson continued to receive tens of thousands of dollars of reimbursement money through the State Legislature for travel between Allagash and Augusta.
Rank and file Republicans joined the call for Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey and Maine Ethics Commission Executive Director Jonathan Wayne to investigate Jackson.
Emails obtained by the Maine Wire show Rep. John Andrews (R-Paris) has filed an official complaint against Jackson with the Maine Ethics Commission and requested an investigation.
“These are serious allegations that must be addressed,” Andrews wrote in an email to AG Frey and Wayne.
“Your offices and these issues fall under the jurisdiction of the Judiciary and Veterans and Legal Affairs joint standing committees. As the only member of both committees in the 131st Legislature I feel that it is my responsibility to inform you both of my concerns,” Andrews wrote.
“The integrity of your offices demands that these matters be investigated fully,” he said.
The commission is now beginning a preliminary investigation to find out whether the matter is within its jurisdiction, according to an email Wayne sent to Jackson.
“Our office received the attached complaint from Rep. John Andrews. We will be handling it with our normal procedures, which will involve requesting more specifics from Rep. Andrews, determining whether it is within our department’s jurisdiction, and taking the next appropriate steps,” Wayne told Jackson.
Sue Bernard, the former Aroostook legislator who lost to Jackson in 2022, said she was confident that the relevant authorities would investigate Jackson’s actions.
“I’m not interested in revisiting the election and the misrepresentations during that campaign, but as a resident of the County, I’m more than disappointed that my senator could have lied to benefit himself at the expense of Maine taxpayers,” Bernard said.
During the 2022 campaign season, Jackson received more than $65,000 in taxpayer funds to support his campaign, and he also benefited from nearly $1 million in outside spending on advertising, spending that helped spread misleading claims about Bernard.
One TV spot claimed the Bernard voted against a Caribou veterans home; she didn’t. Another ad criticized her for missing a large number of votes, but she only missed one week of votes and only because of COVID-19 rules imposed by legislative leaders that prohibited her from attending the sessions.
“I know first hand how challenging it is to represent Aroostook County in the legislature (due to distance) but that doesn’t permit or excuse the abuse of state or federal programs and money,” Bernard said. “I’m confident the appropriate authorities will ensure transparency and accountability for the people of Aroostook.”
Rep. Laurel Libby (R-Auburn) blasted Jackson on Facebook, saying the records in the Maine Wire report show that he has violated Maine’s Constitution.
“The Maine Constitution requires legislators to live IN the districts that they represent (as they should!),” said Libby.
“According to documents that HE signed, Senate President Troy Jackson violated our Constitution by living outside his district . . . AND he lied to the Maine Ethics Commission,” Libby wrote.
Jackson sold the Augusta house in 2021, but he remains locked in a bitter lawsuit with the prior owners of the home.
Jackson is suing the prior owners, Paul and Jane Godbout, for allegedly concealing and not disclosing serious defects with the house, including carpenter ant damage and fire damage.
As the result of that lawsuit, publicly available court records acquired by the Godbouts through discovery show that Jackson filed an insurance claim with Travelers that contained information about damage to the property that contradicted his earlier statements in the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, Jackson alleged that the damage discovered in the house all occurred prior to Sept. 2019, which wouldn’t be covered by his homeowners insurance.
However, in his insurance claim, Jackson said the extensive damage happened after Sept. 2019, which would have been covered by his policy.