Maine Governor Paul LePage has given a couple of reasons for why he removed a mural depicting the state’s labor history from a Department of Labor building in March.
In arguing for his right to do it, lawyers for Governor LePage said it was a matter of free speech – that he was saying something by taking the picture down. Dirigo Blue today posts a local news report from the time in which Mr. LePage explains what he meant: “I think that it’s inappropriate to be in the Department of Labor, when everyone comes in – employers and employees – and they’re confronted by just one side of the equation.”
So the problem was the mural’s message, right? But this week, Governor LePage gave NBC’s Brian Williams a different answer:
“My objection to the mural is simply where the money came from. The money was taken out of the unemployment insurance fund which is dedicated to provide benefits to unemployed workers. They robbed that account to build the mural. Until they pay for it, it stays hidden.”
The U.S. Labor Department says Maine owes it either $38,000 or the proper display of the mural. Dirigo Blue’s got both videos of Mr. LePage’s answers, then and now, and an intriguing question: If Maine’s $22,000 share of the cost goes back, would the governor put the mural back up?