A month ago, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) touched off the latest in a series of racially charged controversies, and there's fresh evidence that he wasn't even honest about his offensive observations.
At a town-hall event, a businessman asked the Republican governor, "Given the rhetoric you put out there about people of color in Maine, calling them drug dealers et cetera, how can I bring a company here given the toxic environment you create?" LePage replied
that he maintains "a three-ringed binder" featuring "every single drug dealer who has been arrested in our state." He added, "I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book ... are black and Hispanic people" from out of state.
Today, as the Portland Press Herald reported
, the contents of LePage's three-ring binder were released to the public.
The 148-page document includes a variety of press releases, jail booking and courtroom photos of various individuals charged with trafficking crime in Maine since January. The photos in the book show men and women of a variety of races, and some pages of the binder include handwritten notes by LePage.
Of the 93 news and booking photos in the binder featuring people, 37 of them appear to be people who are either black or Hispanic, or about 40 percent of the photos in the binder, while 56, or about 60 percent, appear to be people who are white.
It's worth emphasizing that these numbers are imprecise. As the Press Herald
article explained, pages from LePage's binder "were scanned or photocopied in black and white," which complicates the analysis.
That said, the newspaper's review of the governor's materials suggest LePage got it backwards: whereas he insisted that "90-plus percent of those pictures" showed people of color, it appears that a majority of the accused are white.
In other words, LePage wasn't just making an offensive argument; he was also wildly exaggerating the facts for reasons he has not yet explained. read more