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New documents show former Gov. LePage spent $33,000 of taxpayer dollars for trip, multiple concealed trips discovered

Newly obtained documents by the Portland Press Herald reveal several trips and their expenses former Gov. Paul LePage tried to conceal.
Credit: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File
FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2018, file photo, Gov. Paul LePage delivers the State of the State address to the Legislature at the State House in Augusta, Maine.

The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram recently obtained the former governor’s 2018 calendar and hundreds of pages of travel-related documents via public records requests. 

The documents show several trips that the governor took the time to conceal, including a trade mission to Montenegro that cost Maine taxpayers more than $33,000.

Breaking the norm, LePage resisted sharing details of his taxpayer-financed trips or even his day-to-day and week-to-week whereabouts. 

The Press Herald says they obtained his full schedule for the year only after he left office.

Unlike governors before him, LePage kept his travels secret. While Gov. John Baldacci had posted his daily schedule ahead of time, Mainers often didn’t know LePage was hundreds or thousands of miles away, sometimes for many days at a time.

Last August, then-Gov. Paul LePage had a serious cardiac event in Canada. Not until the next day did anybody outside his inner circle know he'd been out of the country, and it would be more than a month before the public learned he had experienced a medical issue serious enough to require him to be evacuated via LifeFlight to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

The documents show LePage spent part or all of at least 80 days outside of Maine in 2018, including at least 39 that appear to have been spent in central Florida, where he and his wife, Ann, own a home.

The governor took five trips to visit Trump administration officials in Washington, D.C., including a Sept. 23-24 stay at the Trump International Hotel that was not previously disclosed. The only item on his schedule for that trip was a meeting at the White House, but it was not clear whom he met with and why.

 A White House spokesman, John Horstman, declined to comment.

LePage’s press secretary, Julie Rabinowitz, who now heads his political organization, Maine People Before Politics, did not respond to multiple interview requests or requests for comment from LePage. For the last two and half years he was in office, LePage failed to comply with a public records request relating to his stays at Trump International, later shown to have cost taxpayers at least $22,000.