Friday, March 7, 2014
Former Sen. Olympia Snowe's political action committee, Olympia's List, made its first major contribution ahead of the 2014 elections to a familiar face: fellow Mainer Sen. Susan Collins.
The U.S. Capitol in Washington.
The Associated Press
The two moderate Republicans served together in the Senate for 16 years before Snowe retired last January. After deciding not to seek re-election, Snowe used part of her substantial campaign war chest to create Olympia's List with the stated claim of providing financial support to candidates committed to working across the political aisle to build consensus on major issues.
Snowe donated $10,000 -- the maximum allowed under federal law -- to Collins' 2014 re-election campaign.
"She is the type of Senator who believes as our Founding Fathers did, that the Senate is the governmental body where the political fires are tempered, not stoked," Snowe said in a statement. "In the days ahead, I look forward to continuing to support candidates like Senator Collins who share my view that we must put the needs of our country ahead of politics."
In a response, Collins said it was "a privilege and a pleasure to serve alongside Olympia in the Senate, and I am truly grateful for her generous support of my campaign."
COLLINS TO APPEAR ON CNN
Collins is scheduled to appear on CNN's "State of the Union" program with Candy Crowley on Sunday.
According to Collins' office, the Maine Republican is expected to discuss the investigations into the Boston Marathon bombings and last year's terrorist attacks on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya. Collins is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and was ranking Republican of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that conducted its own review of the Benghazi incident.
The program airs at 9 a.m. and noon Sunday.
SNOWE BOOK RELEASE TUESDAY
Snowe will officially release her post-retirement book Tuesday. Titled “Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix the Stalemate in Congress,” the book recounts some of the most significant moments in Snowe’s career and why she decided not to seek another term in a Congress she saw as seemingly deadlocked in dysfunction.
The book, which is published by Weinstein Books, also offers Snowe’s views on getting Washington back on a more functional path. Maine’s former senator will also be launching a national book tour.
MICHAUD RAISES MONEY
Another week has passed and Maine Democrats are still waiting to hear who their candidate -- or candidates -- will be for governor in 2014.
The perceived leading contender, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, is still mulling it over. In the meantime, though, the Democrat continues to raise money for a potential congressional re-election campaign next year.
About 125 people -- including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. -- reportedly attended his annual Maine lobster bake fundraiser in Washington, D.C., this past week. An invitation to the event posted on the political fundraising watchdog site politicalpartytime.org listed three donation levels: $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000, which are pretty much par for the course at the nonstop congressional fundraisers around Capitol Hill.
Michaud had roughly $70,000 in his campaign fund as of March 31, the last report on file with the Federal Election Committee.
MISSILE DEFENSE IN AROOSTOOK?
The Obama administration is pushing ahead with surveys of potential East Coast sites for a missile defense facility.
But it will likely be months before residents of far northern Aroostook County learn whether their area is among the finalists, according to a timeline provided by senior defense officials last week.
The Pentagon is exploring potential locations for an installation that would house interceptor missiles capable of knocking down intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, aimed at the eastern U.S.
There are currently two such facilities on the West Coast, but some in Congress have been pushing for an East Coast location to counter perceived threats from a nuclear-armed Iran. Intelligence officials estimate Iran may be able to test-fly an ICBM by 2015.
Defense officials have not mentioned any specific locations. But the Limestone/Caribou area in Aroostook -- former home of Loring Air Force Base -- has been mentioned as a likely candidate in the past. And the area was among two sites recommended by an independent report that made the rounds on Capitol Hill last year.
Pentagon officials were not giving any hints to members of Congress last week, however.
"Literally hundreds of sites are being considered," Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, told a House Armed Services subcommittee. "That process is ongoing and very active."
According to Syring, the criteria when evaluating suitable sites include proximity to population centers and suitable drop-zones for the interceptor booster rockets. The list of candidates will likely be narrowed down to three finalists by the end of summer or fall. But between the required environmental studies and construction, a site would not likely be operational for five to seven years -- if it is ever built at all.
Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at: