The Legislature's watchdog committee voted unanimously Wednesday to investigate Gov. Paul LePage's threat to withhold state funds from a school for at-risk children unless it withdrew a job offer to Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves. The probe will focus on whether changes were made in the flow of state funding to Good Will-Hinckley, a private school in Fairfield, and the effects of the Republican governor's threat on the school's hiring process with Eves.
The Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability, or OPEGA, will carry out the investigation and submit its findings to the six Republicans and six Democrats on the Government Oversight Committee. They could use the OPEGA findings to pursue sanctions against the governor or his administration. The committee acted in response to requests for an investigation from several lawmakers, voting just hours after a letter from LePage's chief legal counsel telling OPEGA that it doesn't have the constitutional authority to investigate the governor became public.