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Mainers in Holding Pattern for LePage Mugshot Book

Gov. Paul LePage says he needs more time before he can reveal the contents of a mugshot book he claims to keep on drug dealers in Maine. ((Matt Gagnon/Wikipedia)
Gov. Paul LePage says he needs more time before he can reveal the contents of a mugshot book he claims to keep on drug dealers in Maine. ((Matt Gagnon/Wikipedia)
September 6, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine — Some Maine lawmakers are a little bit puzzled over why Gov. Paul LePage would need more time to reveal the contents of his "mugshot book.” The governor's response to a Freedom of Access Act request left Mainers in the dark about the contents of a binder LePage has said proves that 90 percent of drug dealers coming in to the state are people of color.

Democratic state representative Kim Monaghan, who serves on the Right to Know Committee, said she is mystified by the delay.

"I'm not sure why it would take three weeks to compile something that has already apparently been compiled,” Monaghan said. "I don't know exactly what it is they need to redact, considering they're just talking about photos and pictures, and mugshots."

LePage did meet the letter of the law by responding to the FOAA request on time, and by explaining that he needs additional time to comply.

According to Monaghan, LePage has made it clear that he believes he gets too many FOAA requests. But in this case, she said it was the governor who fueled the public's curiosity by making repeated references to the mugshot book. She said the request falls clearly into the public's right to know.

"It has to be narrowly tailored as possible - which it was; they're asking them to turn over this three-ring binder of mugshots,” Monaghan explained.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine filed the FOAA request, and the group's executive director Allison Beyea said the delay is disappointing. But they are looking forward to seeing the mugshot book.

"We certainly understand that the governor's office is very busy, that they get repeated demands for different documents. And we understand that this can take a lot of effort,” Beyea said. “But in this case, given the amount of attention this issue has brought on the state, we believe that it should be a priority for the governor's office."

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME