Woodard’s Non-Disclosure, Part Two
Envision this: I took plenty of flack from fans of Colin Woodard’s investigative reporting for my recent posting criticizing him for not disclosing in his two-part biography of Republican Gov. Paul LePage in the Portland Phoenix that his wife is involved with OneMaine, a political action committee started by Eliot Cutler. LePage narrowly defeated independent Cutler in the 2010 gubernatorial race and is widely expected to face a rematch in 2014.
Most of those who didn’t agree with my call for full disclosure said the Woodard-Cutler connection was too tenuous to represent a real conflict of interest or even the perception of one. They claimed the controversy I was attempting to raise distracted from the excellent work Woodard did in digging into LePage’s background.
I agree with half of that. The LePage bio was well done and shed considerable light on the origin of the governor’s political views. But with the arrival of the second installment, Republicans and other anti-Cutler types have been sending me more evidence that my call for additional disclosure wasn’t unreasonable.
Late in part two of the LePage piece, Woodard quotes Alan Caron, who served on the governor-elect’s transition team, making disparaging remarks about that process. Caron argued that LePage’s Tea Party allies scared away many moderates from seeking jobs in the new administration, saying “good people didn’t apply and those that did were rejected.” He also criticized LePage for demanding loyalty from his appointees. “Anyone who wants loyalty above all else is not secure enough or confident enough to build a strong team of good leaders,” Caron said.
Here’s what Woodard neglected to mention.
He’s been hired by Caron, in his capacity as head of the think tank Envision Maine, to co-author a report on improving Maine’s economy that’s scheduled to be released in May. In addition, Eliot Cutler is listed in a recent fund-raising appeal as being a member of Envision Maine’s advisory council, a group that includes a number of prominent centrist politicians including former Gov. Angus King and potential MaineToday Media owner Chris Harte.
Judging from my correspondence, I might be the only non-Republican in the state who cares about these undisclosed connections of Woodard’s. But I do, and I think you should, too.
(For the record, my weekly political column runs in the Phoenix.)
Speaking of Eliot Cutler: Has there ever been a puffier piece on a politician than the one WCSH-TV’s Bill Green did recently on Cutler? Green feeds the likely candidate softballs for more than six minutes, never raising a question about his time in China (during which he became extremely wealthy) or the veracity of many of the negative claims raised by “The Cutler Files” website.
This looks like nothing less than a long campaign commercial airing more than two and a half years before the election.
Al Diamon can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.