Members of the administration of Maine's Tea Party Gov. Paul LePage confirmed on Monday that the governor, who is in the midst of a tough reelection campaign, spent as much as 16 hours during 2013 meeting and speaking with members of the Sovereign Citizens, the far-right group designated as a terrorist organization by the FBI, reports Maine Public Broadcasting News (MPBN).
Not only did LePage spend office hours with members of the Sovereign Citizens, MPBN reports, but he also at one point joked with his guests about hanging Democratic politicians in Maine for treason.
According to Jack McCarthy, a Maine radio show host with ties to the Sovereign Citizens who attended one of the meetings, during a discussion of supposedly treasonous Democrats, LePage was well aware of his interlocutors' violent language.
"[W]e also discussed ... that as far as I know, the penalty for high treason hasn't changed in a hundred years," McCarthy recounted during a February broadcast. "I didn't say it, but the governor said it — I never opened my mouth and said the word — the governor looked at us and looked at his buddy and said, 'They're talking about hanging them.'"
The "buddy's" reply, according to McCarthy? "That's right."
McCarthy added that, at this point, he said, "Praise the Lord — we'll hang a few and be done with this crap."
These details and others are featured in a new book written by progressive activist Mike Tipping, the communications director for the Maine Peoples Alliance and can be found on the Web site, Talking Points Memo. Tipping's book, "As Maine Went," discusses how LePage courted the Republican tea party crowd to help win the governorship in 2010.
Tipping, who says he has found many of LePage's prior statements and actions hard to believe, was amazed that the group claimed to have held more than 16 hours of one-on-one discussions with the governor over the last year.
"He definitely put a lot of effort and a lot of stock into these meetings, and the kind of things that they talked about are just pretty insane," Tipping says.
Even more astonishing is the high level of concern that those around the governor had about his meeting with the Constitutional Coalition. Tipping says the level of anxiety is reflected in a series of e-mails between staff on the subject that he obtained by making a Freedom of Information request.
"It's interesting looking through these Freedom of Access documents and seeing his staff trying to convince him not to meet with and believe these people," Tipping says. "I mean, it's just very strange, disappointing and a little scary all around."