The Latest: Maine governor calls impeachment push 'nonsense'

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Posted: Jan 14, 2016 2:50 PM
The Latest: Maine governor calls impeachment push 'nonsense'

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The latest on a legislative attempt to impeach Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage (all times local):

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2:50 p.m.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage says an attempt to launch an impeachment investigation amounted to a "nonsense" and "foolishness."

The Republican issued the statement after critics failed to muster enough support to require a vote on an independent investigation that could have led to impeachment over his alleged abuse of power.

He was in his office Thursday afternoon after the vote. His spokeswoman said it was "business as usual."

The governor was accused of using influence to pressure a charter school operator into rescinding a job offer to Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves.

Eves called it an "extremely sad day in our state's history."

LePage said the effort was a "political witch hunt that had absolutely no merit."

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1:45 p.m.

Critics of Maine Gov. Paul LePage have failed to muster enough support to require a vote on an independent investigation that could have led to impeachment over his alleged abuse of power.

Instead, House lawmakers voted 96 to 52 to indefinitely postpone debate after Republican leader Ken Fredette introduced a motion to pre-empt any action on the impeachment order.

A group led by Democratic Rep. Ben Chipman of Portland wanted to punish the brash and outspoken Republican governor for using influence to pressure a school operator into rescinding a job offer to Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves.

Debate moved in fits and starts before the vote, with lawmakers being reminded that items up for debate were allegations, not fact.

Eves left the House chambers during the discussion.

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11:10 a.m.

Maine lawmakers have begun debating whether to call for an investigation that could lead to the impeachment of Gov. Paul LePage over alleged abuse of power.

A group led by Democratic Rep. Ben Chipman of Portland wants to punish the outspoken Republican governor for pressuring a charter school operator into rescinding a job offer to Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves.

Debate got underway Thursday after the House approved a resolution of "values and principles" that one Republican lawmaker called a "thinly veiled" reference to the governor's conduct.

An impeachment order would be unprecedented. It likely wouldn't survive long because it would eventually go to the Republican-controlled Senate.

LePage has said he did nothing wrong and the attacks on him are tantamount to a "witch hunt."

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9 a.m.

Maine legislators are ready to consider an impeachment order calling for an investigation into allegations that Gov. Paul LePage abused his power.

The proposal is due to be debated on the House floor on Thursday. A group of lawmakers led by Democratic Rep. Ben Chipman of Portland submitted the impeachment order.

Chipman's group wants to punish the Republican governor for using influence to pressure a school operator into taking back a job offer from Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves. Chipman says the proceedings are about holding the governor accountable. LePage's office calls the accusations frivolous.

An impeachment order would be unprecedented. It likely wouldn't survive long as it would eventually go to the Republican-controlled Senate.