Maine Gov. Paul LePage during a news conference March 10, 2014, in Brunswick, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty/AP Photo

Governor faces tough questions: is he ‘playing with a full deck’?

Politico is not known for cheap name-calling, so when it publishes a piece characterizing Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) as “America’s Craziest Governor,” asking whether the Republican is still “playing with a full deck,” it stands out as noteworthy.
… LePage – a pugnacious, hot-headed, sometimes vulgar Tea Party-style conservative – is facing a bipartisan investigation into potential abuse of power, a nascent impeachment effort by opponents in the lower State House chamber, and a federal lawsuit by the outgoing Democratic House speaker, who has accused the governor of blackmailing a non-profit school into revoking their job offer to him.
 
Meanwhile, leaders of the Republican-controlled state Senate and many Republicans in the House have turned on the governor,helping overturn hundreds of his vetoes and line-item vetoes in lightning-paced voting sessions, sometimes at a rate of one every 25 seconds. His veto of the bipartisan budget was overturned, narrowly avoiding a state government shutdown. An aggressive attempt to appropriate wider veto authority for his office has been rebuffed by lawmakers and legal experts, but still threatens to plunge the state into a constitutional crisis.
Well, sure, when you put it that way, it sounds like LePage is having a tough time.
 
But to assume that the worst is behind the Tea Party governor is a mistake – his troubles are very likely poised to get worse.
 
The investigation into LePage’s abuse-of-power scandal – based on allegations the governor does not deny – is moving forward, and the Portland Press Herald reported late last week that the state legislature’s watchdog agency has begun reviewing evidence. LePage has tried to shut down the probe, saying the panel lacks the authority to review his conduct, but a report is nevertheless expected to be released in September.
 
Also last week, the Bangor Daily News reported that the governor has issued vetoes on legislation that have already become law.
The Maine House and Senate both ignored dozens of vetoes delivered Thursday by Gov. Paul LePage, all but ensuring that a weeklong dispute over those vetoes will be decided by the Supreme Judicial Court.
 
It was the latest development in a bizarre dispute that has enveloped Augusta for a week. LePage held 71 bills for longer than the 10 days normally afforded him to veto legislation, prompting many lawmakers and the state’s attorney general to declare the bills had become law without the governor’s signature.
LePage, still convinced that he can veto bills that are now considered law, is urging the state Supreme Court to intervene and support his strange argument.
 
The question of whether or not the Maine governor is still “playing with a full deck” will probably fall outside the justices’ purview.
 

Maine and Paul LePage

Governor faces tough questions: is he 'playing with a full deck'?