It’s been a transformational year for the Maine Wire. Editor-in-Chief Steve Robinson officially took the reins in February, and now the Wire has six full-time employees, including four reporters and a digital media editor. We’re not done — not by a longshot — and we have plans to continue growing in the coming year and expand our impact throughout state.
We’re committed to ensuring that Mainers don’t have to rely on left-wing media companies and lazy hacks to learn what’s happening in Augusta or anywhere else in Maine. We believe that Maine desperately needs an news outlet that doesn’t see itself merely as a stenographer for those with political power. Instead, our mission is to question government narratives, be skeptical of politicians’ claims, and use old-fashioned investigative journalism to turn up the truth Mainers need to hear.
If you’ve liked what you’ve seen, heard, and read this year, you’re going to love what we have on tap for next year. More podcasts, video shows, and live events are on the menu. Your feedback is appreciated and you can email us anytime. But before we turn our gaze to the future, here’s a look at some of our favorite reporting from 2023:
10. Foreign Investors Will Reap 92 Percent of Profits from Aroostook County’s King Pine Wind Power Scheme
As anyone who’s dirven within 30 miles of Bingham knows, leftists are obsessed with wind turbines. They want wind turbines on every mountain and all over the Gulf of Maine. Of course, every single wind turbine is only made possible because the government extracts money from our paychecks and gives it to out-of-state wind power executives. That’s part of the reason the Maine Wire took a closer look at the so-called King Pine Wind Power project planned for Aroostook County. What we found was shocking — and it hasn’t been reported by any other outlet in Maine.
According to financial disclosures — all of which are public — the Boston-based developer behind the King Pine scheme is 92 percent owned by foreign interests, including a sovereign wealth fund.
Longroad Energy, the firm that is lining up for taxpayer-funded subsidies and profits guaranteed by the Maine Public Utilities Commission, is 40 percent owned by New Zealand’s sovereign wealth fund, 40 percent owned by a major New Zealand-based investment company, and 12 percent owned by a massive German conglomerate.
That means, should the King Pine scheme come to fruition, Mainers will pay higher electricity rates so that Kiwis can get a decent return on their pensions. But wait, it gets better: the scheme cannot happen without a huge transmission line from Aroostook County to central Maine, a power corridor that will be constructed through the freewheeling use of eminent domain. More: all of this is being done for the benefit of Massachusetts companies who need to comply with green energy mandates.
In other words, Maine politicians, including plenty of Aroostook County Republicans, want to take money from taxpayers and give that money to out-of-state wind power developers so that Mainers can pay higher electricity bills for the next 25 years, with the primary beneficiaries being New Zealand pensioners and wealthy Germans. This harebrained idea is so inimical to the interests of Mainers, especially rural Mainers, that just a few weeks after we published our reporting, LS Power, the company that was supposed to build the transmission line, abandoned the project.
As you’ll see, this is just one of many stories that you will only read in the Maine Wire.
9. Top Progressive Donors Funded Press Herald Takeover
Maine’s media landscape underwent a massive shift in 2023. Well, not that massive. Nothing will really change about the overwhelming left-wing bias in the state’s newspapers, but the ownership structure of the Portland Press Herald, Lewiston Sun Journal, Kennebec Journal, and several other former Masthead Media newspapers changed. Those papers are now owned by a “national trust” funded by top progressive donors, including George Soros and a lesser known Swiss foreign national named Hansjörg Wyss.
The new leadership of the Press Herald said in September that they would be more transparent about the ownership structure in the future. Three months later, that looks like an empty promise. They’ve said nothing about who funded the purchase. But tax records and other public disclosures allow us a glimpse into the big money now dominating news in Maine.
For example, the Maine Wire has reported that the nonprofit groups behind the purchase have been financially supported by Soros, Wyss, and Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar, as well as a host of other progressive foundations. Plus, in addition to control of five major newspapers, some of the same progressive mega donors also launched a new left-wing blog in Maine, the Maine Morning Star (which comes in addition to the other left-wing blog they already fund through the Maine People’s Alliance). It seems the national progressive machine isn’t content to have virtually every reporter in Maine on their payroll — they need to import more from out of state!
You can read about Wyss — and how he built his fortune conducting medical experiments on humans — here: Who is Hansjörg Wyss, the Billionaire Swiss National Bankrolling Progressive Media and Politics in Maine?
8. Mills Admin Pursues California-Style EV Rules
Unlike some of the items on this list, the Maine Wire’s reporting on the Mills Administration’s attempt to force us all to drive Electric Vehicles has been more of a long-running saga than a blistering exposé. Led by Libby Palanza, our reporting has shown in detail how the current conflict started, how it has played out, and how it would impact Mainers of all stripes.
The Reader’s Digest version: 150 left-wing activists — almost all of them from Portland or on the payroll of some environmentalist group — signed a petition circulated by the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). The Mills Administration, on the basis of that petition, is attempting to mandate the sale of expensive, less reliable electric vehicles. The decision would have been made by the unelected members of the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) the week of Dec. 18. But they decided it wasn’t a great idea to mandate electric vehicles the same week that half of Maine didn’t have electricity.
You can catch up with Palanza’s reporting here:
- Maine BEP’s Vote on Controversial ZEV Mandate Delayed Until Next Year
- Mills Admin Delays Electric Vehicle Mandate Vote Due to Storm Emergency
- Maine BEP Responds to the Thousand-Plus Public Comments Received Concerning California-Style ZEV Mandates
- Maine DEP Calls Press Herald Report “Inaccurate,” Says ZEV Mandate Vote Will Not Go to Lawmakers in 2024
- Oh, the Lies! Electric Vehicle Nonsense from the Mills Administration
7. Co-Owner of Neo-Nazi Compound in Northern Maine, a Former Democratic Activist, May Be Prohibited from Owning Firearms
A quick search for “Maine Neo-Nazi” will turn up no less than 10,000 hits for mainestream media stories about some loser from out-of-state who purchased a 10-acre compound in Springfield, ME. This guy is some kind of a Telegram cult leader who claimed to be organizing a neo-Nazi paramilitary militia. Notwithstanding that everything about the guy screams “Fed”, he was the perfect character for liberal politicians and the left-wing media to elevate as Maine’s biggest problem. But despite all of the ink spilled by hyperventilating media outlets, none of them scratched the surface of the story to see if there might be something more going on.
Enter: Maine Wire.
The Maine Wire reported exclusively on the background of not only Christopher Pohlhaus, the aforementioned loser, but also the co-owner of the property, Fred Boyd Ramey.
Why did no other outlet in Maine mention that Ramey’s name was on the deed?
It might be because Ramey is a longtime Democrat who raised more than $100k for a Democratic super PAC that supported a Democratic presidential candidate in 2016. Boyd and Ramey even shared an address in Wyoming at the time of the purchase. Combine Ramey’s fundraising with Pohlhaus’s on-camera endorsement of Joe Biden, and you can start to see why the leftist media abandoned their plans to make the Summer of 2023 the Summer of Maine Neo-Nazis.
This story even comes with a happy ending. A few months after Maine Wire exposed these clowns, including previous felony convictions that would make it illegal for at least one of them to own firearms, they sold their property and fled. Interestingly, the Moores Road property was purchased by Li Zuo of Malden, Mass.
6. Maine School Meeting Erupts as DEI Bullies Smear Parents as Racists
The single most important fight happening in Maine schools is playing out between left-wing ideologues who want to impose Critical Race Theory and Gender Ideology on children, on the one hand, and common-sense parents who want their kids to learn traditional academics.
The ideologues march under the banner of “Diversity” and “Inclusion” and “Equity.” They talk about “gender affirming care” and “social-emotional learning.” But in every case what they really mean is systematically imposing contrived left-wing morals and belief structures on vulnerable children. In every case, they are doing this not for the best interests of the children but for the advancement of broader cultural and political goals. Even the most ardent supporters of this indoctrination program, like Maine Dept. of Education Commissioner Pender Makin, have been forced to acknowledge that youth mental illness has skyrocketed at the exact same time advocates for this programming have secured control of public education.
Nothing threw the foregoing into sharper relief than an undercover recording — obtained exclusively by the Maine Wire — of a meeting where the Falmouth Schools attempted to hold a public forum about DEI. When one parent, of the common-sense variety, said she was concerned about her children being taught that they are inherently privileged because of their skin color and that America is evil, the DEI bullies went insane. The parent was shouted down, smeared as a racist, mocked and denigrated. The meeting descended into chaos.
Our reporting revealed the ugly underbelly of the DEI cult. That is, if you dare to question the wisdom and righteousness of this crusade, you will be publicly shamed and ostracized.
5. Speaker Talbot Ross Caught Lying About Maine State Police
House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland) wanted to advance legislation that would make almost every traffic stop involving a racial minority a potential case of illegal profiling. The bill would have made it illegal for an officer to rely “to any degree” on any physical characteristic of a subject, including race, ethnicity, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, or national origin.
In other words, Maine cops would be legally required to blind themselves, dull their senses, and pretend that, for example, a gang of 19 Romanian nationals storming the border were just blobs of human who could be Canadian Nobel Prize laureates who happened to crash across the border looking for a Tim Horton’s.
If that sounds like a recipe ineffective policing, then you probably understand why the Maine State Police told Talbot Ross they could not support her bill. Not, at least, in the way it had been written by Megan Sway, a left-wing legal activist from the Maine Civil Liberties Union. However, when the bill came up for a hearing, Talbot Ross ignored the Maine State Police’s objections and falsely asserted that Maine’s top law enforcement agency supported her bill.
“I would just love for the committee to know that we hear you when we presented the bill, and have been working with Lt. Col. Bruce Scott [sic], I’ve been working with the Attorney General’s office to bring this amendment to you today,” Talbot Ross told lawmakers.
“We all agreed to revise the definition of profiling, so we’re all in agreement around that,” she said. (emphasis added)
One problem: Lt. Col. Scott — whose first name is actually Brian (I guess all white people look and sound alike, amiright?!?!…) — was listening to the hearing and didn’t appreciate Talbot Ross’s misleading comments. “The definition of profiling in this amendment is not the one I provided to the Speaker’s Office,” Scott told the hearing clerk.
The Maine Wire was the only outlet in Maine to report on Talbot Ross’s attempt to falsely represent the Maine State Police’s views on the bill. She never commented publicly and never apologized for her misrepresentation. The bill, LD 1613, ended up passing, with only slight concessions to the realities of policing desired by the State Police.
Maine’s broader media treating Talbot Ross as a sacrosanct figure who cannot be criticized was another big theme of 2023. Here are a few other stories you may have missed if you rely only on the legacy media:
- House Speaker Calls for Storming Capitol Over White Supremacist Ideology at Maine Department of Education
- Video: Maine House Speaker Rants About Failure of “Liberal Democrat White Women”
- Maine House Speaker Talbot Ross Withdraws Homeless Trespassing Amnesty Bill After Backlash
- Maine Media Runs Cover For House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross’ State Police Scandal and “Storm the Capitol” Rhetoric
- Maine’s Speaker Proposes Bills to Educate Public on Hate and Bias, Give Illegal Immigrants Medicaid Benefits
- Rachel Talbot Ross Wants to Give Money to Criminals and “Disinvested” Communities to Help Them Start Cannabis Businesses
4. Maine DOE: Academic Learning Takes Backseat
It’s amazing what you can learn when you actually pay attention to Legislative hearings. Yes, mostly it’s just boring lawmakers droning on about whatever. But sometimes you get a real loony toon of a leftist on the microphone who commits a Kinsley gaffe. That is, a gaffe in which he or she unintentionally admits the truth. In this case, Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin just blurted out, albeit in Kamala Harris-style glossolalia, that “academic learning” was taking a backseat to left-wing social experiments in Maine’s public schools.
Listen for yourself:
3. Public School Social Worker’s Secret Sex Change for 13-Year-Old Girl
Transgender social contagion is sweeping the United States. Maine’s schools are ground zero. But the politicians, school officials, and establishment media in this state has totally guzzeled the kool-aid and lost all sense of objective reality.
Case in point: Andrew Balcer. Balcer, a 6’2″ 245lb man, murdered his parents and dog in cold blood. After he went to prison, he decided he’d rather be in a women’s prison. So he changed his name to Andrea, asked for “gender affirming care,” and in two shakes of a lamb’s tail he was living in a prison full of women. When the Maine Wire exposed this insanity, the other outlets in the state raced to draft their own coverage, being careful to describe the murderous brute as a “she” and “woman”. While the Maine Wire strives to be respectful in our reporting, we draw the line at indulging the psychopathies of cold-blooded murderers.
That event sets the stage for the ongoing legal battle at the Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta, and the skewed lens through which other media outlets have covered the conflict.
The Maine Wire reported exclusively on one mother’s allegation that a 26-year-old social worker had secretly provided her 13-year-old daughter with a breast binder as part of a social sex change. Our reporting went viral nationally and caught the attention of attorneys at the Goldwater Institute, which subsequently agreed to represent the mother in a major lawsuit against the school district. That lawsuit could very well settle once and for all whether school employees are allowed to secretly coach vulnerable students into sex changes.
Most shockingly, when the mother of the 13-year-old girl complained about the secret attempt to groom her daughter, she was very quickly visited by a Child Protective Services (CPS) agent. She wasn’t alone, either. Another mom in the district told the Maine Wire that she, too, received a CPS visit after complaining about the social worker. That makes at least three cases the Maine Wire has documented of CPS agents threatening to take away Mainer’s kids after they’ve complained about school policies.
- Maine Moms Say School Retaliated With Child Welfare Agents After They Complained About Social Worker’s Gender Counseling
- Maine Mom Challenges Alleged Secret Public School Gender Transitions in Federal Court
- Maine Dad Says High School Clinic Sent 17-Year-Old Daughter Home with Secret Baggy of Zoloft, Sicced Child Protective Services on Him For Complaining
- No Discipline for Social Worker Who Gave 13yo Girl Breast Binder Without Telling Mother, Says Maine State Board
2. Troy Jackson’s Ethical Quagmire
Senate President Troy Jackson, the top ranking lawmaker in Maine, thought no one would discover that he was wielding his cozy relationship with lobbying giant Preti Flaherty to sue an elderly Maine couple for frivolous reasons. And he was right — no one in the Maine media picked up on the lawsuit fore more than two years… until the Maine Wire came along.
The Maine Wire reported exclusively in August about the Senate President’s lawsuit, which centered on Jackson’s questionable claim that he was hoodwinked into buying an ant-infested, water-damaged, smoke-stained house in Augusta. But after reviewing the legal documents from the case, we realized that Jackson had a bigger problem on his hands. Namely, that he was simultaneously claiming that he was a resident of Augusta and a resident of Allagash, and both couldn’t be true.
Jackson claimed, in a signed mortgage document, that he was going to make the Augusta home his primary residence in order to qualify for a low-interest, low-down-payment Federal Housing Administration loan. But he claimed to be a resident of Allagash in order to run for State Senate, get tens of thousands in taxpayer funding for his campaign, and pad his bank account with hundreds of thousands of dollars in mileage reimbursements for Allagash-Augusta round trips he claims to have made despite having a home less than two miles from from the State House.
The Maine Wire’s reporting prompted a complaint and landed Jackson in front of the Ethics Commission where, predictably, the Ethics Commission decided to take Jackson’s word that he never made the Augusta home his principal residence. Now, you might be thinking: “Gee, that kind of sounds like Troy admitted to lying on an FHA loan application, which is a federal crime.” And you’re right: Jackson signed mortgage documents claiming he would occupy the Augusta home but now says he never occupied it and never intended to occupy it. That’s the textbook definition of what our dear friends at the FBI call “occupancy fraud.”
Fortunately for Jackson, the same two-tier system of justice that ensures some connected D.C. politicians never get held accountable for breaking the law is at work in Maine. U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee, a Biden appointee from Caribou, hasn’t taken any public action against Jackson. If she’s planning to break Aroostook Omerta and enforce the law against her fellow Democrat, she’s hiding it very well. Ditto for Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey. Oh, and lastly, Jackson also filed a false insurance claim with Travelers Insurance, but the Maine Insurance Bureau insists they have no jurisdiction over that.
- Maine Senate President Troy Jackson Locked in Bitter Legal Fight Over Augusta Home He Bought – and Moved Into – in 2019
- Troy Jackson Admits: He “Never Really Read” FHA Mortgage Doc He Signed and Failed to Satisfy
- The Mortgage Broker Troy Jackson Threw Under the Bus Denies Wrongdoing: “Something seems a little fishy here”
- Pictures Suggest Troy Jackson Still Living in Augusta Post-Session, Not His Allagash District
- Payments to Troy Jackson for Travel, Lodging Nearly Doubled After He Bought Home in Augusta, Totaled $160k from 2019-2023
- Morris Calls on Mills’ Insurance Superintendent to Probe Senate President Jackson [AUDIO]
- “Insurance Fraud is Not a Victimless Crime”: Senior House Republican Calls for Mills Admin to Investigate Troy Jackson’s Insurance Practices
1. Triad Weed: How Chinese Organized Crime Took Over Rural Maine
The Maine Wire’s ongoing investigation into the vast criminal conspiracy that has engulfed rural Maine stands out as our most important and comprehensive work of the year. This foreign criminal organization is taking homes away from middle class Mainers, causing electricity prices to increase, violating dozens of laws, and operating with impunity for the benefit of broader criminal goals.
Based on a leaked Department of Homeland Security memo, the Maine Wire has identified 200+ properties in rural Maine involved in this conspiracy, as well as the names of their owners. We have major plans to continue exposing this criminal conspiracy in 2024, as well as the politicians and government officials who have enabled it.
In the mean time, you can read and share our reporting below:
- How Chinese Marijuana Grows Took Over Rural Maine
- One NYC Bank Financed More Than 50 Illicit Chinese Marijuana Grow Houses in Rural Maine
- State Law Enforcement, Feds Struggle to Clamp Down on Illegal Chinese Drug Operations in Maine
- Office of Cannabis Policy Says It Has No Authority to Police Illegal Chinese Drug Houses [VIDEO]
- Maine Legislature Will Consider Proposal to Fight Chinese-owned Marijuana Operations
- Collins, Golden Renew Call for DOJ Action Against Illicit Chinese Marijuana Grows Following Maine Wire Report
- Susan Collins Urges US Attorney of Maine to Crack Down on Chinese Organized Crime, Cites “National Security Risks”
- Maine Law Enforcement Raids Machias Marijuana Grow, Arrests Three Suspected Non-Citizens
- Robinson Joins Steve Bannon’s War Room to Cover Machias PD’s Triad Weed Bust; Three Asian Foreign Nationals Arrested [VIDEO]
- Two Weeks After $1M Western Maine Marijuana Raid, Wilton Still Abuzz With Illicit Drug Activity
One last story…
When Gov. Janet Mills picked Dr. Shannon Carr to serve as the medical authority backing her plan to end virtually all limits on abortion in Maine, she probably didn’t know that Carr fled New Mexico after a late-term abortion she performed resulted in the death of a young woman.
Carr was named in a civil suit filed by the family of Keisha M. Atkins, a 23-year-old woman who died after a botched abortion. The abortion clinic later settled the wrongful death suit for $1.26 million. Not exactly the kind of PR that Planned Parenthood paid for when they dumped nearly a million dollars into Democratic campaigns in 2022…
Abortion supporters in the State Legislature called the Maine Wire’s reporting “disinformation,” though no one has been able to point to a single fact we got wrong. The report was based on videotaped depositions of Carr, hundreds of pages of transcripts from the deposition, and hundreds of pages of legal filings.
This story, like so many others, was not covered by any other outlet in the state. The Bangor Daily News, which purports to be a non-partisan outlet, even refused to run a thoroughly sourced op-ed from the long-time former executive director of Maine’s State Board of Nursing.