Here in Maine, a special legislative study committee has been at work on recommendations in regards to a proposed bill to compensate landowners if the potential resale value of their property is diminished by regulations. It's a controversial issue on which a fair bit has already been written about in the press and blogosphere.
In this week's Portland Phoenix, I focused on a matter of process: how could it be that the Pierce Atwood takings attorney who wrote the original "takings" bill and is said to be the driving force in the study committee hasn't ever registered as a lobbyist or revealed who she has been hired to represent? And what's up with this 2008 rule change allowing lobbyists to avoid disclosure when serving on commissions, task forces, and study commissions? (Source.)
A few readers have asked what the next step would be in pursuing this matter. The answer: an interested party would ask the state ethics commission to investigate the issue; the body would presumably communicate with Pierce Atwood, evaluate their rationale, and determine if they believed the firm was in compliance. No word as yet as to whether anyone has done so.
I am an award-winning journalist and author of American Nations, American Character, Ocean's End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates. I'm a staffer at the Portland Press Herald, where I won a 2012 George Polk Award for my investigative reporting and was named a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist.