“A new class of Maine lawmakers swept into office on Election Day and are making waves of change in the State House. When the Legislature convenes Dec.1st they will cast secret ballots to select Maine’s next attorney general and for the first time since 1980, the state’s top attorney is expected to be a Republican. Ever since Richard Cohen held the post 30 years ago, the office has been held by a succession of five Democrats — most recently Janet Mills. One potential nominee is William Schneider, a former state representative from Durham.
Mainers should not expect a major overhaul in personnel or the way the office does business, for two major reasons. First, Maine has a long-standing tradition of independence in the Attorney General’s Office. It’s the only state in the country where the attorney general is elected by secret ballot in the Legislature. Secondly, most of the day-to-day work within the Attorney General’s Office is not political in nature. Each attorney general brings his or her own areas of interest. Richard Cohen had a keen interest in the criminal division.”
If a Republican gets the position, should the public expect anything different? Will the new attorney general replace the current staff attorneys and implement a vastly different priority list from his predecessors? According to Cabanne Howard who was in the A.G.’s office during five transitions, “the new A.G.would come in, would survey the office, figure out what everybody was doing and decide if he wanted to do things in a different way.” It’s obvious that over the past 30 years the status quo in the Attorney General’s Office remained.
Maine’s attorney general is elected by secret ballot in the Legislature. Do you believe the day-to-day work within the Attorney General’s Office is not political in nature? In order for the new class of Maine lawmakers to succeed in their efforts/goals, it is imperative that politically motivated individuals/employees/officials not be elevated to a higher position and who will continue in their same mindset. The “revolving door” policy in Augusta is a huge problem. It’s time for people to elect the Attorney General and other constitutional officers.
If “each attorney general brings his or her own areas of interest” to this office, evidence proves the common thread among past A.G.’s is their lack of concern for the public’s interest.
The Attorney General possesses constitutional and common law authority, independent of the agencies represented by the Office that may be exercised by the Attorney General in the public interest. The A.G.’s office also prosecutes welfare and Medicaid fraud, securities crime, and official corruption cases and has responsibilty to stand up for the legal rights of Maine citizens. The Attorney General must swear and affirm his (her) oath of office.
Constitution of Maine Article IX
Section 1. Oaths and subscriptions. Every person elected or appointed to either of the places or offices provided in this Constitution, and every person elected, appointed, or commissioned to any judicial, executive, military or other office under this State, shall, before entering on the discharge of the duties of that place or office, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: “I, do swear, that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of this State, so long as I shall continue a citizen thereof. So help me God.”
“I do swear, that I will faithfully discharge, to the best of my abilities, the duties incumbent on me as according to the Constitution and laws of the State. So help me God.”
If the new majority wants to regain the public’s trust, they must remember who sent them to Augusta and why. The people must remain vigilant and the new leadership must exercise due diligence of their office and oaths. The evidence of a pattern of violations of oaths, violations of law and violations of our rights and liberties extend beyond decades. Connect the dots……