Monday May 16, 2011 | 10:46 AM

Sen. Olympia Snowe is gearing up her 2012 reelection bid, and in an opening email to potential supporters the Maine Republican again lashes out at tea party-aligned GOP primary challenger Scott D’Amboise, though she does not mention him by name.

D’Amboise, of Lisbon Falls, last week accused Snowe’s husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan, of improper business practices and called on Snowe to resign in the wake of the news that the Justice Department had filed notice that it would intervene in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that Education Management Corp. improperly compensated employees who recruit students to the for-profit college company's institutions. McKernan is chairman of the board of Education Management, which is based in Pittsburgh and does not operate any schools in Maine.
 
D'Amboise said in a news release that "Snowe has the responsibility to the people of Maine to resign and find a way to give back the money she has been banking through her husband's ill-gotten business strategies that included stealing and misappropriating taxpayer funding. She had to know something was fishy about how her husband was doing business."
 
In response, Snowe last week said that neither she nor her husband had done nothing wrong and charged D’Amboise with running a "libelous" smear campaign. She also said she has no involvement with the company.
 
"The kind of political flim-flam that Scott D'Amboise is offering is frankly deceptive, and people expect more from people who want to represent them. You have a potential opponent here who suggests that he already has a verdict" against McKernan, Snowe said in the interview. "I haven't done anything wrong, nor has my husband. He worked according to the law."
 
In her campaign email, sent out this morning judging by a copy provided Maine on the Hill, Snowe says that, “ As you may have heard, my primary opponents are already launching false, negative attacks on me and my husband and the far left is accusing me of shifting my views for political gain. I want to set the record straight. My employer is you – the people of Maine. And I am always advocating for what I think is best for the people I represent and for our country.”
 
Snowe also does not mention by name another GOP primary challenger also trying to claim the tea party mantle, Andrew Ian Dodge of Harpswell.
 
The D’Amboise campaign has not backed off its attack.
 
Meanwhile Snowe says in her email that she is launching an official campaign web site in the coming weeks.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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