The Cauldron

 

The spring that never was, at least that’s the prediction as of late from the weather prophets. As we dream of warm spring air and fear it may never again appear through the snow drifts, the maple sugar industry is just wishing the sap would run. Its awful hard to boil sap without any sap.

A couple of hours to our south in Augusta there is no shortage of sap to be sure. The halls of the capital run thick with it and for years the layers of impurities have lain dormant with no adversity to expose it. As of late though, the hidden corruption of the Democrat Party has started to bubble to the top.

Not that it would take much heat to turn the layered misdeeds of the party whose symbol is an ass. The systemic corruption of the Democrat Party has so compiled that, quite frankly, its getting very hard for the leadership to keep a lid on it. Still to a great degree, Maine voters are complicit in this misuse and misappropriation of funds.

The Clean Elections Fund is a conundrum of contradiction. There is simply nothing clean about. And to it’s corruption, the Democrats are the flaming epitome. But it was the people of Maine who voted to give the Democrats the much more money to misuse and misappropriate in their version of a “clean election,” as if they hadn’t had enough to misuse in the past.

So now, it’s the expose´. Will Mainers be disgusted by the misuse of their taxpayer dollars? I doubt it. It’s what they voted for, right?

No, not really, but the frustrating thing is the flippant manner in which voters vote away their hard earn dollars into the pockets of corrupt politicians and then complain about the tax burden. Every bond issue that comes on a ballot sails through by a large majority. Minimum wage hikes completely detached from common sense are voted in leaving are businesses now teetering on collapse. No thought is ever given to repercussions of our votes.

The boil is on in Augusta and many Democrats are being exposed for abusing the clean elections system. Augusta is wallowing in too much money that we the voters, with the flick of pen or punch of a button in a voting booth, give to individuals with questionable moral fortitude. We as voters should take this time to reflect on whether there would be so much corruption in Augusta if we stopped giving them so much money to be corrupted with.

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Rep. Poliquin Acts to Stop Outrageous Government Intrusion of Personal Emails

Rep. Poliquin Acts to Stop Outrageous Government Intrusion of Personal Emails

As an original cosponsor, Rep. Poliquin today will vote for the Email Privacy Act in the House

 

WASHINGTON – Today, Maine’s 2nd District Congressman, Bruce Poliquin, released the following statement on the House’s vote on the Email Privacy Act, of which he is an original cosponsor:

 

“It is absolutely outrageous and unbelievable that the federal government has the legal authority to invade the privacy of millions of Americans by reading and storing our emails without any warrant,” said Congressman Poliquin. “The current law allowing for emails older than 180 days to be accessed without a warrant by the feds is outdated and intrusive.  Today, I am voting to fix this outrageous invasion of our privacy.”

Governor’s bill strengthens welfare work requirement and reduces liability of Maine taxpayers

03/10/2016 02:25 PM EST
**Augusta** – Governor Paul R. LePage, for the third time, will introduce legislation to prioritize employment over welfare entitlement by aligning Maine’s welfare programs with federal law. From 2007 through 2013, Maine’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) failed to meet the federal work participation rates causing the state to face nearly $29 million in federal fines. Members of the Legislature have not only ignored the issue, they have protected the very exemptions in Maine law that have discouraged employment and this Administration’s goals of helping people move from poverty to prosperity.

“The Legislature once again has the chance to correct a situation that is detrimental to both the people on the program and the Maine taxpayers. It is time to hold accountable those who refuse to work because of baseless excuses,” said Governor Paul LePage. “We must restore taxpayers’ faith in the integrity of the system and ensure it is helping those who truly need it in a way that supports them becoming self-sufficient. More importantly, we could fix the problem that led to the $29 million in fines.”

“This legislation and the reforms proposed are critical to further advancing our efforts to incentivize work in the best interests of those in need of temporary assistance, rather than the long-held views by democrats that these individuals are incapable of helping themselves and therefore should be protected from the employment requirements that are core to the federal law.,” said DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew. “Twice democrats in the legislature have denied this Administration’s attempts to correct the issue. The people we are trying to help get back to work and the $29 million in looming federal penalties can no longer be ignored. We must align our program to the federal guidelines and stop allowing people to opt-out of their required work so easily.”

LD1631 will use a two-prong approach to address the issue. First, it will eliminate the requirement for blanket “good cause” exemptions for TANF recipients not complying with the work requirements. The Department will still have the ability to grant good cause in certain circumstances that truly prevent the recipient from completing work requirements, such as in cases involving victims of domestic violence. In addition, the Department will have more flexibility to impose a sanction more quickly in cases where it is appropriate to do so. Under the current process, administrative hurdles delay sanctions and allow noncompliant recipients to receive TANF benefits for additional months. Not only does this produce a barrier to independence, it also contributes to the state not meeting its work participation rate. If a TANF recipient is not working, it counts against the State’s rate because Maine’s “good cause exemptions” are much more broad than they should be.

Secondly, the legislation will create a fund to pay fines imposed on the State by the Federal Government due to Maine’s failure to comply with Federal ASPIRE-TANF program requirements.

In August, the Department received a letter from the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) informing the state that it would need to pay the first penalty of the $29 million currently assessed. The 2007 penalty amount totaled $1.16 million and will need to be paid with state funds. The letter demonstrates the real financial liability associated with past failures to make sure recipients were working. It’s a mistake that Maine cannot continue to repeat.

Attorney General files Deceptive Trade Practice action against Barry Somes and associated businesses

03/03/2016 02:56 PM EST

 

AUGUSTA – Attorney General Janet T. Mills announced today that she has filed an Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act complaint against Barry Somes of Cumberland Center. The complaint alleges that Somes operated under numerous business names and failed to deliver on promised vacation tours after taking advanced payments and failing to provide refunds to affected consumers.

Somes operated businesses including TourBUSters, Club Impac, and Lids For Kids, among others. These businesses purported to offer motor coach tours to destinations around the Northeast United States and Canada. Somes also advertised that net profits from the tours would be donated to benefit children; the complaint alleges that that did not happen. Numerous consumers complained that after they made deposits, Somes would contact them saying that the tour had been cancelled. When the consumer requested a refund on their deposit, Somes would attempt to convince the consumer that for various reasons he could not give the refund or charge them a cancellation fee. Somes has exhibited this pattern over numerous years, prompting this action from the Attorney General to enjoin him from future similar business ventures. In the last several years the Attorney General’s Office has received 54 complaints from consumers seeking refunds of deposits paid to Somes. Of these 54, Somes has paid refunds to only 17 consumers.

“Mr. Somes took money from many elderly people who were looking forward to what might be their only vacation of the year,” said Attorney General Mills. “He pulled the rug out from under them by not only cancelling their plans, but also failing to provide timely refunds so they could make alternate arrangements. This is not how a reputable business operates. By bringing this action, we hope to discourage others from trying to do the same.”

The Attorney General is also seeking an accounting of how the consumers’ deposits were used and a disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains by Mr. Somes. Should the court find that his actions were intentional, the court could impose a $10,000 civil penalty for each violation. The civil complaint brought under Maine’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act was filed in Kennebec County Superior Court on February 29, 2016.

The Maine Office of the Attorney General is interested in hearing from any other consumers who may have had similar dealings with Mr. Somes. They are encouraged to contact the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division State House Station 6 Augusta, ME 04333-0006Consumer.mediation@maine.gov Tel: 1-800-436-2131