Earlier this week, I wrote a blog post about accusations by Maine board members of the World Acadian Congress (known by its French acronym, CMA) that the LePage administration had threatened their funding in order to force CMA Maine President Jason Parent to resign from his position.

I’m inclined to believe that their claims are true, in part because what they say happened isn’t at all a departure from what Gov. LePage has done many, many times previously.

Since he was first elected in 2010, LePage has pushed his power as the state’s chief executive to the limits, using strategies that no governor had before employed and turning his willingness to refuse to perform some of the basic administrative and financial responsibilities of his office into new sources of leverage. He has often used this authority to affect processes and organizations that were meant to be independent from the governor’s influence.

A prominent recent example is his ongoing refusal to issue bonds that have been approved by voters at referendum. Before LePage, such issuance was seen as a mere formality, but the governor has turned his technical authority into a political cudgel, withholding bond funding for worthy projects in an attempt to realize (often-unrelated) political gains.

In the most recent chapter of the bond saga, LePage refused to release $11.4 million in borrowing for the Land for Maine’s Future program until the Legislature acceded to his policy demands on the use of timber harvesting revenues. But the selective issuing of bonds has been a favorite tactic of the LePage administration for years.

In 2012, LePage blocked the issuance of voter-approved community development bonds intended to help 11 towns, and then facilitated five of those communities represented by Republicans in both the House or Senate in receiving alternate funding. No towns represented by Democrats received similar assistance.

Also in 2012, LePage took the unprecedented step of withholding hundreds of thousands of dollars in Sudden and Severe Impact funds from the town of Millinocket after an unrelated dispute over a local landfill for which LePage wanted the town to join the state in taking partial responsibility as a way of subsidizing the purchase of the Great Northern Paper mill by investment firm Cate Street Capital.

We all remember how well the Cate Street New Markets tax credit fiasco turned out and how much it cost the state – but you may not know that Millinocket is, even now, still waiting on its education funding.

In 2014, LePage began withholding money for raises approved by the Legislature for attorneys working for the Maine Attorney General’s Office, a move that AG Janet Mills called “political manipulation.”

In January of this year, he forced the resignation of Maine Community College System President John Fitzsimmons by flat-funding the system in his budget and threatening that the nominally independent board of trustees would “feel the wrath” if they didn’t oust Fitzsimmons.

In February, LePage withheld funding from the Maine Human Rights Commission because he didn’t like the outcome of a religious discrimination case involving Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro.

Also earlier this year, LePage threatened to make permanent an accidental reduction in funding for Efficiency Maine (because of a typo in a piece of legislation), in order to seize more control over the arm’s-length organization.

Last month, in one of the most high-profile cases of LePage pushing the limits of his financial authority, it was revealed that the governor had threatened to withhold funding meant for a school for at-risk children in order to pressure the school’s parent organization, Good Will-Hinckley, into firing its new president (and LePage’s political opponent), House Speaker Mark Eves.

Two things strike me about this long list, which is likely far from complete:

n First: The rate at which LePage is finding new ways to leverage this kind of authority seems to be increasing. Just as has occurred with the use of his veto power, he now seems to threaten to withhold whatever funding he can as an almost reflexive action whenever he doesn’t get his way.

n Second: In some of these cases, such as with the Human Rights Commission, Good Will-Hinckley and the new allegations about the Acadian Congress, LePage made these financial threats privately rather than (as with the community college system, for instance) as part of a public show.

Who knows, then, how many other examples there may be where those targeted for this kind of bullying have quietly knuckled under to the governor? The immense financial power he holds over people’s careers and lives makes it difficult to defy his threats, or bring them into the light.

Mike Tipping is a political junkie who works for the Maine People’s Alliance. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @miketipping