WASHINGTON – Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, has formed a political action committee called Olympia’s List, which the retiring lawmaker says will support political candidates and elected officials who are committed to consensus-building.

Snowe has said she will retire in January after 30-plus years in Congress because of her frustration with the partisanship and political gridlock in Washington.

By demanding results from government, Snowe said, the public can motivate elected officials to work together to solve major issues.

“Olympia’s List will facilitate discussion about activities taking place to further that goal, and will encourage support for like-minded candidates for political office,” Snowe said in a prepared statement.

In July, Snowe announced that she would use $1.2 million of her roughly $2 million in unneeded campaign funds to create a leadership institute for young women.

Lucas Caron, spokesman for Olympia’s List, said Tuesday that $500,000 to $600,000 of Snowe’s campaign funds are being transferred to her new PAC.

Caron said Snowe is still forming the criteria for identifying like-minded candidates so she will not contribute to or endorse any candidates in the current election. Instead, Snowe hopes to build a following of people who will be willing to contact U.S. House and Senate members in November and December to urge them to work across the aisle during the lame duck session of Congress.

The PAC’s website, www.olympiaslist.org, features a list of senators and House members who were identified by National Journal as closest to the ideological center.

Washington Bureau Chief Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:

kmiller@mainetoday.com