The calls for Maine Gov. Paul LePage to be impeached grew louder Thursday in Augusta as a committee investigating blackmail allegations held its first public hearing.
The Government Oversight Committee charged with investigating the governor heard testimony from several legislators. All 23 speakers urged the committee to continue investigating the allegations that LePage blackmailed a charter school to have a political opponent fired.
Many of those speakers also called for legislators to issue impeachment proceedings.
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The investigation was launched after Democratic Speaker of the House Mark Eves was abruptly fired from his job as president of the Goodwill-Hinckley School. LePage has admitted to threatening school officials, telling them he would withhold $500,000 in state funding if they hired Eves as president.
School officials testified to the GOC committee that they understood the threat the governor was making and felt it would put the school's future in jeopardy. They decided to fire Eves last summer.
The non-partisan and independent Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability conducted interviews and presented a report to the GOC, which confirmed the threat to withhold state funding was made, and as a result, Eves lost his job.
Key members of LePage's staff have refused to be interviewed for the OPEGA report, including senior policy advisor Aaron Chadbourne and chief legal counsel Cynthia Montgomery.
Members of the GOC voted 8-3 to issue subpoenas for Chadbourne and Montgomery, and invited several other people close to the issue to testify at their next meeting on Nov. 12.