The Bellows for Senate campaign went on a national left-wing blog tour recently, proclaiming a “grassroots triumph” in its latest fundraising figures. But as I laid out in a letter to the Brunswick Times Record last week, their claims of a low-dollar, grassroots-financed campaign don’t quite align with a simple fact: more than 80% of their campaign cash comes from itemized donors whose contributions averaged more $1000. Bellows herself admitted on Twitter that 60% of her money came from just 85 individuals.
Now more details about her financial activity cast an even longer shadow over this “Grassroots Triumph”.
According to her finance reports, the “grassroots” Bellows for Senate campaign spent more than $20,000 on out-of-state lawyers, insurance agents, and accountants, services readily available in any Maine town:
$11,050.56 to Evans & Katz LLC of Washington DC for Accounting Services
$4,169.92 to Perkins Coie LLP of Seattle Washington for Legal Services
$5,319.95 to Clarke & Sampson. Inc. of Alexandria VA for Insurance
I’m not privy to the details of Shenna’s campaign strategy, but I find it hard to understand why her “grassroots” campaign would need to go out-of-state for these services.
The most likely explanation is that these companies are part of the national progressive ‘campaign in a box’ network that Shenna Bellows, like so many failed candidates before her, is trying to make work in Maine. These top-down, DC-based efforts historically crumble on the rocks of Maine like a tinfoil dingy, while out-of-state consultants and lawyers cash in.
Shenna’s campaign has become a veritable pass-through for big D campaign money- $1000 donors put money in, and out-of-state consultants pull it out the other side. What’s left is nothing but a Grassroots Fairy Tale.
And the end of this one is looking pretty grim.
- Jason Savage, Executive Director, Maine Republican Party
WHO: Concerned Republicans
WHAT: Public Hearing on Medicaid Expansion (LD 1578)
WHERE: HHS Committee, Room 209, Cross Office Building (next to State House), Augusta
WHEN: Wednesday, January 15 at 9:00 AM (continuing likely into the afternoon)
WHY: Maine’s fiscal future
There will be a signup at the hearing where you can reserve a time to speak. Speeches are limited to three minutes. At the following link please find a document containing pretty much everything you need to know about ObamaCare’s welfare expansion: http://www.mainegop.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Medicaid-Expansion-in-Maine.pdf
You can use this document it to craft a speech and feel free to share it with any and all of your friends.
These hearings are important because not only do they influence lawmakers who will vote on the issue; they influence press coverage and public opinion of the event.
Some have quipped that Republicans don’t show up to public hearings because they have jobs, but if that’s the case, please consider taking a vacation day for the most important legislative cause of the year.
From the Maine House Republican office:
Members of the press,
Most of you have probably heard of the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment. If not, it’s an ongoing study on the effect of Medicaid made possible by a randomized, controlled experiment when Oregon expanded the medical welfare program by lottery in 2008.
The third major research paper stemming from the experiment was released yesterday, and its findings blow a massive hole in a major part of the argument for welfare expansion under ObamaCare.
The study found that emergency room usage increased 40 percent under Medicaid expansion.
The second paper on this experiment was published last summer and it made major news. It’s finding? Medicaid coverage had no effect on physical health outcomes.
I highly recommend this story from NPR, published about 12 hours ago. From it:
"When you make ER care free to people, they consume more of it. They consume 40 percent more of it," says Michael Cannon, head of health policy for the libertarian Cato Institute. “Even as they’re consuming more preventive care. And so one of the main arguments for how Obamacare was going to reduce health care costs is just flat out false.”
Cannon says the study will likely further hurt President Obama’s credibility for vowing that expanding Medicaid would help get people out of emergency rooms. But what’s likely to bother the administration even more, he says, is what it may do to the half of the states that have yet to adopt the Medicaid expansion.
"This study is going to make it less likely that the 25 states that decided not to expand Medicaid are going to change their minds and decide to expand Medicaid," Cannon predicts.
And Maine Democrats have been towing the same ObamaCare line:
- · Rep. Linda Sanborn: “Maine has an opportunity to cover more people and save millions of dollars currently spent to treat uninsured people in emergency rooms.”
- · Press Herald, 10/20/13: “Farnsworth, the Portland Democratic legislator, said reducing emergency room usage should lower the overall cost of health care and is a worthwhile goal.”
- · BDN, 5/21/13: Sen. Goodall: “We don’t want people going to the emergency room as their primary care physician.”
- · Press Herald, 5/16/13: “Democrats say linking the two issues is good for hospitals because expanding Medicaid would reduce charity care associated with emergency room visits for the uninsured.”
- · Reuters, 5/23/13: “Mark Eves, speaker of the Maine House of Representatives and a Democrat, said the bill ‘pays the debt and helps fix the underlying problem that contributes to high health care costs in the first place,’ citing rising costs of charity care in emergency rooms of Maine hospitals.”
Harvard University: “The study is highly relevant to the current landscape in the U.S.”
This latest Oregon study reinforces findings by the Centers for Disease Control in 2010 and by the Muskie School of Public Service here in Maine the same year.
- · CDC: “Medicaid beneficiaries were more likely to have had at least one ED visit in a 12-month period than persons with private insurance and the uninsured.”
- · Muskie School: “There was no discernible pattern associating high or low ER use with … insurance status.”
Comment from House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport:
- · “We must have an honest and fair debate about ObamaCare’s welfare expansion, and we cannot do that if Democrats continue to repeat things that we know are untrue in order to create political hype. Let’s look at the facts, which say that welfare expansion under ObamaCare is far more costly and far less beneficial than the president and Maine Democrats are making it out to be.”
Comment from Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette of Mapleton:
- · “Republican reforms to health insurance here in Maine have reduced the underlying cost of coverage. We must have a more comprehensive approach to health care that relies on more than just welfare dollars from Washington.”
Don’t hesitate to call with any questions or for further comment.
While Senate President Justin Alfond is now trying to take credit for Governor Paul LePage and Republican’s work in paying off Maine’s massive hospital welfare debt, this video shows Alfond actually advocated against paying the hospitals, labeling the non-payment of bills a “meaningful cut”.
Democrats Kill Rep. Amy Volk Bill to Help Human Trafficking Victims
Party-line vote against women comes as big surprise to GOP women
AUGUSTA – The Democrat-controlled Legislative Council—the panel of all 10 members of Maine state legislative leadership—on Wednesday killed Rep. Amy Volk (R-Scarborough)’s bill to help the victims of human trafficking by allowing courts to vacate their prostitution convictions.
The vote fell along party lines, with the four Republican members voting to let the measure into the upcoming legislative session and the six Democratic members voting in opposition to it. No reasons were given for their votes.
The bill received much attention in the media last week as victim advocates and lawmakers from both parties voiced their support.
“I am rather stunned that Democratic leadership killed this bill to address a major issue facing women,” said Rep. Volk. “I had been contacted by women from both parties about cosponsoring the bill and there seemed to be a lot of interest, but for some reason Democratic leadership did not consider it a priority.”
Bills submitted for the second regular session of the Maine Legislature, which runs from January through April, must be considered “emergencies.” The legislature will take up several hundred such bills.
“Democratic leadership approved many relatively minor bills, and if helping the women who fall victim to sex trafficking isn’t a priority, I don’t know what is,” added Volk. “There are women out there carrying prostitution convictions even though they had no control over their circumstances. Because of today’s decision, they may have to wait another year or more to appeal the convictions that are holding them back in terms of jobs and education.”
Other House Republican women voiced their concern about the priorities of Democratic leadership.
“We hear a lot about a ‘war on women’ being waged by Republicans, but this goes to show that the real offenders are oftentimes Democrats,” said Rep. Joyce Maker (R-Calais).
“I’m shocked by the priorities of Democratic leaders today,” said Rep. Beth Turner (R-Burlington). “This bill should have passed unanimously.”
Rep. Volk will have until November 6 to file an appeal of the decision before Legislative Council.
[Photo caption: The Legislative Council meets in its chambers at the State House in Augusta, Oct. 30, 2013.]
Members of the press,
As a follow up to the press release below that we sent to you on October 3, 2013, regarding Mike Michaud’s votes against veterans, we would like to present the following:
Bangor Daily News: Shutdown’s effect on Maine spreads to VA benefits administrators(Note: at the end of this article Michaud’s previous quote calling the Republican bill a ‘political ploy’ - we have to wonder if these administrators think voting to keep them working was a ploy now that they’re out of work.)
Press Herald: Shutdown’s effects ensnare Maine’s veterans (Note: No mention of Michaud’s votes against funding critical operations of the VA - but there is a mention of the fact that if the shutdown continues for three more weeks, disability and pension benefits would not be paid. We wonder if Mike Michaud thought about this when he voted against funding for veterans’ benefits)
From the PPH article:“Of more serious concern is what will happen if the shutdown continues for another three weeks. At that time, the VA would run out of money for disability compensation and pension benefits, potentially affecting millions of older and disabled Americans.”
Also, please read Ethan Strimling’s BDN attack blog by clicking here - and follow it by reading about Ethan Strimling and his discovery of a vast bipartisan conspiracy to return the VA to the era of abacus and typewriter. Pretty hard for Ethan and Mike Michaud to claim the veterans’ benefits bills were right-wing Republican plots when many Democrats crossed the aisle to vote for them.
Also, this piece from Kevin Miller at Maine Today Media actually dug into the issue and pointed out Michaud’s multiple votes against veterans and paying National Guard and Reserve Personnel: Stalemate politics: Votes fuel attacks on Collins, Michaud
We quoted Miller’s piece in a social media graphic that went viral and has been shared more than 750 times and seen by about 30,000 people.
ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE BELOW:
For Immediate Release: October 3, 2013
Contact: Jason Savage (207) 622-6247
REPUBLICAN PARTY QUESTIONS MICHAUD’S LEADERSHIP IN VOTE AGAINST FUNDING FOR VETERANS
Michaud casts vote denying funding for Veteran’s Affairs
AUGUSTA - The Maine Republican Party today issued a statement questioning Congressman Mike Michaud’s leadership and priorities in light of his vote against the funding of veterans’ benefits in favor of partisan gridlock and a federal government shutdown.
"Mike Michaud has claimed support of Maine’s veterans as hallmark of his Congressional term," said Jason Savage, executive director of the Maine Republican Party. "But this vote contradicts everything the Maine people think they know about Congressman Michaud."
"Thirty-three Democrats in the House broke rank with their party leaders and had the courage to vote to provide funding for veterans’ benefits in the face of this government shutdown, but Mike Michaud was not one of them," said Savage.
Savage said it is time that Maine people, especially Maine veterans and their families, get some answers, “What are Maine’s veterans to think about Mike Michaud’s recent political turn? Are our veterans as important to Mike Michaud as helping his partisan leadership team to score a few political points? Isn’t it worth making sure our veterans are taken care of, even if it means Mike has to show some courage and buck his party, just this once?”
"Let’s hope that Mike Michaud somehow musters the courage and conviction to stand with Maine’s veterans in the future, even if it means bucking his party leaders," concluded Savage. "This recent vote against veterans is certainly not a profile in courage - Maine deserves better."
The roll call referenced above, roll call 506, can be found at the following link:http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll506.xml
Please read and share the following communication from Maine House Republican leadership, who were not notified by Democratic leadership of an emergency Appropriations meeting today.
For Immediate Release, October 9, 2013
Contact: David Sorensen
Communications Director, Maine House Republicans
Fredette Blasts Dems for Lack of Communication
on Emergency Meeting
House GOP Leader learns of meeting midway through
while driving on interstate
AUGUSTA – House Republican leaders today reacted with surprise to the emergency meeting of the legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs (AFA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) Committees called by Democratic leadership.
“We had no idea this was happening,” said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. “It’s customary for majority leadership to discuss legislative hearings with minority leadership, but we’ve seen repeated lapses in communication with the Speaker’s Office.”
“Speaker Eves and his office never contacted me or my staff about this emergency meeting which they planned a week ago,” continued Fredette. “I only learned about it today while the meeting was taking place and I was driving down the highway. Speaker Eves has my e-mail address and my cell phone number. His actions as Speaker in not notifying Republican leadership are irresponsible during this time of great uncertainty at the federal level and call into question Democratic leadership’s response to the federal government shutdown. This should be a time of collaboration and communication, not politics as usual.”
Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette of Mapleton likewise was unaware of Wednesday’s emergency meeting.
“This lack of communication from the Democrats tells me two things,” said Fredette. “First, it’s ironic how Democrats have been attacking Gov. LePage over a supposed lack of communication, yet they turn around and do the same thing with their own colleagues in the legislature. Second, if this were a substantive meeting about solving problems, perhaps we would have known. But it’s clear that Democrats simply wanted to drag Commissioner Mayhew before the committees for a photo-op where they could attack the Administration.
“This isn’t productive,” said Willette. “It’s exactly the type of political showmanship and hypocrisy that we’re seeing in Washington, D.C. right now.”
Fredette added that he is confident in Commissioner Mayhew’s ability to appeal the federal government’s recent decision to cut off $20 million in funding to Riverview Psychiatric Hospital.
“I’m encouraged by the fact that Attorney General Mills and Commissioner Mayhew are working closely together in a bipartisan manner to solve this problem and fight for funding for this institution which is vital to the health and well-being of our state,” he said.
Please read the following memo from Brent Littlefield, Senior Advisor to Governor Paul LePage.
Former Democratic State Senator and liberal pundit Ethan Strimling this morning said it better than anyone,
“In a District where Democrat Bill Diamond is strong, Governor LePage is as well. He is up by 12 points over Mike Michaud…. This is a classic swing District. He won it back in 2010 by 6 points, now he is up 12 points. So that certainly is stronger for him… Democrats have got to be very aware that there’s a whole lot of middle Maine out there that’s feeling just as they did about Governor LePage three years ago…”
His fellow pundit Phil Harriman chimed in: “That just affirms the things I hear on the street. (People) love the changes and the policies that he is advocating for in Augusta.”
This was in reference to the poll released yesterday in the Bangor Daily News run by Democratic polling firm PPP of a swing Senate district west of Portland held by Democrats for many years. The New York Time’s has reported that PPP has a Democratic bias across its surveys of approximately 3%; meaning the LePage total is likely higher.
Audio of Strimling and Harriman here: http://560wgan.com/ken-and-mike/10-9-eye-on-politics/
Note, the poll showed that 34% of respondents were Republicans but 42% were voting for LePage. Meaning that 8% of LePage’s vote is coming from Democrats and Independents.
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