Tea party governor ‘will put bureaucrats to work getting GOP re-elected’

By Daniel Tencer
Thursday, January 27, 2011 22:15 EDT
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Governor who told NAACP to ‘kiss my butt’ may face legal problems over letter

The communications director for Maine’s new, tea party-backed governor told staffers last month they would be using the state’s bureaucracy to get Republicans re-elected, according to a letter obtained by a Maine blogger.

Dan Demerritt, the communications director for Gov. Paul LePage, may have called for a violation of the law when he reportedly announced in an email to the governor’s closest advisers that “once we take office, Paul will put 11,000 bureaucrats to work getting Republicans re-elected.”

The letter, obtained by blogger Gerald Weinand at Dirigo Blue, was quickly denounced by the Maine Democratic Party.

“Paul LePage had the gall to stand before all of Maine at his inauguration and say ‘My pledge to the Maine people is to put you before politics.’ We now know that like much of what he says, this was a flat out lie,” Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said in a statement.

Grant pointed out that using taxpayer-funded public employees for political campaigns is illegal under Maine law.

In the letter, Demerritt also referred to Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, who he said was “aggressively gearing up” for the next election. “Let’s get her and her state offices involved in increasing the profile of our people.”

“This is news to us and we do not know anything about it,” Sen. Snowe’s office responded to Weinand. “Our offices are here to assist all of the people of Maine who have federal issues.”

Gov. LePage has been attracting national attention since his colorful campaign last year, in which he reportedly swore at a reporter and vowed to tell President Obama to go to hell.

His national media attention crested this month, when he rejected the NAACP’s invitations to attend Martin Luther King Day events, and invited the civil rights group to “kiss my butt.”

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