Big man got the money

By AL DIAMON  |  June 15, 2011

In April, it was the state treasurer who questioned the expenses of the Maine Municipal Bond Bank, an independent state agency (much like the Maine Turnpike Authority — in more ways than one) that helps cities and towns borrow money. As with other such entities, the bond bank has been insulated from close scrutiny and criticism over the years because Democrats, who appointed most of its members, tended to ignore what their cronies were up to.

Poliquin, being a member of the GOP, wasn't similarly restrained. He wanted to know why Robert Lenna, the agency's executive director, and three others went to New York for a bond sale last fall, a two-night visit that cost $4600 for hotel rooms and $4000 for meals.

Lenna, unused to being publicly questioned, got angry and blurted out, "I don't eat at Wendy's."

Score one for the treasurer.

Whether that single point and Poliquin's constant whining about the retirement system will resonate with voters remains debatable. As a candidate for governor, he launched attack ads against a GOP rival and refused to attend debates, annoying a lot of Republicans. He managed to repair some of that damage with his tireless campaigning for eventual winner Paul LePage, but questions about his political chops linger.

Then there's the issue of whether being state treasurer is the equivalent of a clogged drain pipe. After all, you don't see Sam Shapiro as a US senator, Dale McCormick as governor, or David Lemoine in Congress, do you?

I treasure your comments e-mailed to aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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