The calls are growing louder for Maine Gov. Paul LePage to be impeached, and his supporters are firing back.
Dueling rallies were held outside of the Maine State House in Augusta Wednesday morning, the first day of the legislature's new session.
Dozens of LePage's supporters held a counter-rally to a group calling for the legislature to impeach the governor this session.
Rep. Ben Chipman (D-Portland) has drafted an order to initiate impeachment proceedings, and he says it has the maximum eight co-sponsors. He expects to introduce the order sometime early next week.
"The governor has put us into this position, and we have no choice," said Chipman. "We have to hold the governor accountable."
Chipman's order lists eight allegations of misconduct:
- Refusal to issue voter-approved land conservation bonds
- Alleged use of state assets to bring about the resignation of the World Acadian Congress, Jason Parent
- Exertion of pressure in 2013 on hearing officers in the Maine Department of Labor to favor employers in their decision-making
- Refusal to allow cabinet members and members of the administration to testify before the legislature
- Alleged use of state assets to bring about the resignation of the Maine Community College System President, John Fitzsimmons
- Threatening to withhold state assets to pressure the Maine Human Rights Commission to postpone a hearing regarding a particular business
- Creation in April 2015 of a review panel for the Maine Human Rights Commission, without public notice, in violation of the Maine Freedom of Access Act
- Alleged use of state assets to intimidate the Board of Directors at the Goodwill Hickley School in June 2015 into terminating the employment of Speaker of the House Mark Eves
"If we look at all eight, it paints a pretty clear picture of abuse of power, misuse of state assets, official oppression," said Chipman.