Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Many of you may recall last year's fight over a special bill to reduce labor protections for worker's at Austin Jack DeCoster's notorious egg farms, home to serial violations of labor, environmental, health, and worker safety laws of frankly jaw dropping magnitude. The bill -- sponsored by Rep. Dale Crafts (R-Lisbon Falls) and backed by Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake (R-Turner) -- was approved in commitee, but struck down after Sen. Chris Rector (R-Thomaston) and other lawmakers learned they had been deceived about the company's recent track record.
Now the legislators involved appear to be reaping their rewards. Austin Jack DeCoster has donated $100 each to Mr. Timberlake and Mr. Crafts' reelection efforts. His longtime farm manager Doucas Goranites -- foster brother and genetic first cousin of Sen. Olympia Snowe -- has given Timberlake the maximum allowed donation of $350.
For its part, Land o Lakes has given both lawmakers -- and another Turner-area legislator, Sen. Garrett Mason (R-Lisbon Falls) -- the maximum $350 each through Moark LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary based in Fontana, California. Two of Moark's employees, General Manager Blair Hagy and DeCoster Farms official Laurin Hagy, also gave $350 apiece to Rep. Crafts. Blair also gave Rep. Timberlake and Sen. Mason $350 apiece. Altogether, egg interests have added up to what amounts to significant money in legislative races, which are often won with a campaign chest of just a few thousand dollars.
In the world of money and politics, it's rare one finds a clear quid pro quo, but every once in a while...
Open Season targets all of Maine's political wildlife, from Portland city government to the donkeys, elephants and independents stalking the Statehouse and U.S. Capitol.
John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
John can be reached at 791-6324 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @jrichmaine
Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
Colin can be reached at 791-6317 or email@example.com
Susan Cover has covered Maine politics for 10 years and worked in Kansas, Ohio and Rhode Island as a reporter. This year, she is focusing on covering the same-sex marriage debate for MaineToday Media.
Susan can be reached at 621-5643 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or email@example.com