House to ask Supreme Judicial Court whether to impeach Poliquin

Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 in Investigation

House to ask Supreme Judicial Court whether to impeach Poliquin

by Gina Hamilton

AUGUSTA -- The Maine House will ask the Maine Supreme Judicial Court today to issue a finding on whether or not Treasurer Bruce Poliquin should be impeached and removed from office for violating the Constitution that forbids him from conducting business, and for filing an incomplete ethics form.  Poliquin is scheduled to go before the Maine Ethics Commission today, on February 29, to answer those complaints.

Poliquin was recently told by Attorney General Schneider that he should "dissociate" himself from his business interests at Dirigo Holdings and the Popham Beach Club.  According to the House, which has sole power to impeach him, he has not done so. 

From Tuesday's legislative calendar:

ORDERED, that, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of Maine, the House of Representatives respectfully requests the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court to give the House of Representatives their opinion on the following questions of law:

Question  1.     Do any of the activities of the Treasurer of State identified by the Attorney General violate the constitutional restrictions prohibiting the Treasurer of State from engaging in a business of trade or commerce or as a broker or agent or factor for any merchant or trader?  Has the Treasurer of State violated his oath "...to support the Constitution of the State of Maine"?

Question  2.     If the answer to either part of Question 1 is in the affirmative, does this violation place in jeopardy the validity of any actions taken by the Treasurer of State while in violation of the constitutional restrictions?

Question  3.     If the answer to either part of Question 1 is in the affirmative, having violated the Constitution of Maine, is it possible for the Treasurer of State to remain in office?

Question  4.     Given that the Treasurer of State is prohibited from engaging in trade or commerce, could he comply with the Constitution of Maine by placing management of his business interests in the hands of a 3rd party or would it be necessary for him to divest himself of his interests entirely?

Question  5.     Do the activities of the Treasurer of State identified by the Attorney General with regard to the Treasurer of State's involvement with the Popham Beach Club or Dirigo Holdings, LLC or the Treasurer of State's failure to provide complete information regarding sources of income and activities to the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices constitute a misdemeanor in office permitting the House of Representatives to take action against the Treasurer of State under the Constitution of Maine, Article IX, Section 5 providing for the impeachment or removal by address to the Governor?

Question  6.     Are there any other avenues available to the Legislature to investigate the activities of the Treasurer of State and to determine whether the Treasurer of State's actions violate the Constitution of Maine or any provisions of law?

Question 7.      Does the incompleteness of the Treasurer of State's bond constitute grounds for removal under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 5, section 124?  What action would be necessary under that law to remove the Treasurer of State?

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