AUGUSTA (AP) — Two Democratic Maine lawmakers asked a legislative committee Tuesday to investigate allegations that Republican Gov. Paul LePage forced the president of the World Acadian Congress to step down.

In a letter to the Government Oversight Committee, Roland Martin and Robert Saucier said the state’s watchdog agency should look into allegations made by liberal political activist Mike Tipping in a piece published by the Bangor Daily News last week.

Tipping’s piece says the governor threatened in 2013 to pull $500,000 in funding for the organization unless Jason Parent, the Maine international president of the World Acadian Congress, resigned.

LePage’s office has rejected the account and said the governor made sure the event received $1 million in state funding after federal funding fell through.

Peter Steele, a spokesman for the governor, said Tuesday that lawmakers are using the piece by Tipping, who works for the liberal advocacy group the Maine People’s Alliance, “to fan the flames of their fanatical opposition to the governor.”

“This bogus charge is another example of the Maine Democrats being led around by the nose by the pro-welfare activists at Maine People’s Alliance,” Steele said in an email.

The World Acadian Congress is a two-week event held every five years to celebrate Acadian culture.

Tipping quoted a board member as saying she was told that it had to either remove Parent as the president or lose its funding. Tipping said that Parent, who stepped down in April 2013, confirmed the account.

Parent didn’t immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment.

The state’s Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability recently launched an investigation into claims made by Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves that LePage pressured a school for at-risk youth into removing him as president by threatening to withhold more than $500,000 in funding. LePage has acknowledged that he threatened to pull the funds but said he was acting within his authority.



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