POLITICS

Paul LePage Disputes Claim He Discussed Hanging Democratic Leaders With Extremist Group

07/01/2014 03:57 pm ET
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is facing questions over his decision to repeatedly meet with activists who have ties to a group the FBI and Maine law enforcement consider a domestic terrorist organization.

Talking Points Memo published on Monday an excerpt from author Mike Tipping's new book, in which he details how LePage engaged with members of the Constitutional Coalition, which is affiliated with the Sovereign Citizen movement. Members of the organization believe the government is planning an attack on Christian Americans by collecting firearms, that it runs mind-control operations and that it was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

LePage reportedly met with members of the group eight times from January through September of 2013.

Tipping, who works for the Maine People’s Alliance, a progressive advocacy group, wrote that when the coalition's members met with LePage they discussed arresting and executing state House Speaker Mark Eves (D) and Senate President Justin Alfond (D) for treason and violating the U.S. Constitution.

LePage's press secretary, Adrienne Bennett, told the Bangor Daily News Monday that the governor has met with “hundreds of Mainers hearing thousands of ideas, concerns and suggestions," and “hearing those ideas during constituent meetings does not translate to the governor endorsing the ideas of others.”

LePage, for his part, denied the contention that he participated in a discussion of executing Maine's Democratic legislative leaders.

“None of this stuff ever happened,” LePage told the paper, saying that he talked with the group about the U.S. and Maine constitutions. “I listened and listened and listened. Some points they were making were reasonable and some were off-the-wall.”

In a February 2013 recording of a radio program called the “Aroostook Watchmen,” the show’s hosts discuss meeting with LePage and talking with him about how hanging would be the punishment for high treason, which they believed the Democrats had committed.

HuffPost Pollster, which combines all publicly available polling data, shows a close race between LePage and one of his general election opponents, Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine). Democrats may be hopeful that the controversy over why LePage met with the group could endanger his re-election odds in November.

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