Mal Leary

Maine Public Political Correspondent

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.

A lifelong journalist and Maine native, Mal has worked as both a reporter and editor in broadcast and in print, in both Washington, D.C. and in Maine. He has won numerous awards for his reporting on state government issues and politics.

For several years he owned and operated Capitol News Service, which was located in the State House complex providing news coverage to radio stations as well as newspapers.

Mal is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters & Editors and has long been an advocate for open government. He is the SPJ Sunshine Chair in Maine and is currently the president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition based at the University of Missouri Journalism School and is a Vice President of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition.

Mal is married with three grown children, several grandchildren and lives in Augusta, within sight of the Capitol dome.

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Associated Press

A Superior Court judge has ruled that the Maine Ethics Commission can distribute public campaign funds to Clean Elections candidates, even without the approval of Gov. Paul LePage, who will likely appeal the decision. The outcome of the case could have broad political ramifications.

In his decision, Justice William Stokes focused on the unique nature of the Clean Elections system and how it is funded. The usual state financial procedures, he ruled, do not apply, and the state Ethics Commission has authority over public financing of elections.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP Photo

It’s one thing to sanction Russia or other nations for attempting to interfere in democratic elections. But how do you educate the American electorate to recognize misinformation spread on social media? 

J Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

The Treasury Department has decided to not require donor information from certain nonprofit organizations that seek to influence elections. Sen. Angus King is co-sponsoring a bill that would reverse that decision and go further.

“The prior law was that you had to report who the donors were to the Treasury Department, but they weren’t made public,” King says. “The bill that Sen. Jon Tester and I have would say they not only have to report to the IRS, they have to make it public.”

Friends of Acadia

For years, Maine has been part of a regional effort to reduce ozone pollution in the air that exacerbates asthma and has been linked to other health problems. Now, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection wants to adopt less stringent standards and move most of Maine out of the Ozone Transport Region.

New numbers on the Maine state budget are out. Officials say revenues were above estimates, and state agencies did not spend all that was appropriated to them, yielding a surplus of nearly $176 million for 2018.

Finance Commissioner Alec Porteous says higher-than-projected revenue from the state’s income tax and sales tax and unspent balances in various state accounts of nearly $17 million resulted in the surplus. Budget law allocates the surplus.

“Mainly, it’s 80 percent to the budget stabilization fund, and 20 percent reserved for tax relief,” says Porteous.

Mal Leary

AUGUSTA, Maine — About a hundred people waved signs and chanted "No to Kava-NO" at the State House on Saturday, and urged Maine's senators to decline to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The House of Representatives meets this week before taking a five-week break. At the top of the agenda is more work on budget bills for running the federal Government.

Congressperson Chellie Pingree, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, says the House just completed work on the sixth of 12 bills on the table.

“We had some serious disagreements on it, but the good news is at least the process is moving forward, and we have had several areas of agreement with the republicans and, these days, we will take what we can get,” said Pingree.

Darron Cummings / AP Photo

As part of an effort to strengthen its defense of the nation’s election system from cyber-tampering, the Department Of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated a list of individuals in each state for clearance to receive classified information about suspected attacks.

Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Citing what they say is clear evidence that the Russians have tried to interfere with U.S. elections, Maine’s members of Congress say the House and Senate should consider providing additional money to help the states bolster the security of their voting systems.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Maine 2nd District U.S. House Rep. Bruce Poliquin Wednesday questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell about the nation’s economy and what can be done to encourage its growth.

“One of my concerns, my major concern Mr. Powell, is how do we keep this going?” Poliquin asked.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

All four members of Maine’s congressional delegation are criticizing President Donald Trump for downplaying Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

AP Photo

Addressing skyrocketing drug prices has been one of Maine Senator Susan Collins' priorities. During a speech to the Pew Charitable Trust in Washington Monday Collins says one big reason for the hike is the failure of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce anti-monopoly laws.

“It’s really the FTC that’s the lead on this," Collins says. "I think we need to figure out why they are not doing more and rectify that problem.”

AUGUSTA, Maine- The sparring has begun in a lawsuit over the stalled release of Clean Elections Act funding. Governor Paul LePage is being sued for disallowing the distribution of that money to publicly financed candidates for Governor and the legislature.

BDN

Gov. Paul LePage has signed off on the sale of about $115 million in voter approved bonds after blocking the sale last month.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Gov. Paul LePage is threatening to keep the Legislature in session until Election Day in November unless it deals with a number of key issues he wants resolved. 

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