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.

Ways to Connect

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. 

Leaders of both major political parties are scrambling to fill candidate vacancies across the state as 33 party nominees have withdrawn from legislative races. Most of the nominees were republican contenders. Mal Leary Mal Leary joined Maine Things Considered from the capitol to explain what this all means. 

This story was originally published July 11, 2018 at 6:05 p.m. ET.

Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Senator Angus King says he has concerns about the judicial record of President Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh. King cites Kavanaugh’s ambiguity on Roe v Wade, the Affordable Care Act’s required coverage of pre-existing conditions and his comments about Presidential immunity as points of concern.

“He’s already pretty much stated that he doesn’t think it’s appropriate to even investigate a sitting President, which I find kind of bizarre,” King says. “In law school I learned that no person is above the law.”

Alex Brandon / Maine Public

The House Appropriations Committee has unanimously approved a measure sponsored by Maine Congressperson Chellie Pingree that is aimed at keeping siblings together while in federal custody. Pingree says it’s the least Congress can do.

“Siblings are being unnecessarily separated under HHS care,” she says. “This includes children who have been forcibly separated from their parents or legal guardians and those who cross the border together but who are unaccompanied.”

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Maine Sen. Susan Collins says the U.S. Supreme Court nomination process has become hyper political and could damage public confidence in the courts. Collins' comments come just a day after President Trump announced Federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission has unanimously voted to expand the investigation of Central Maine Power’s billing system. 

Liberty Consulting’s audit will now review how CMP has handled consumer complaints about the system that was implemented last fall. 

“Matching the Liberty Consulting group’s audit scope to the summary investigation scope will assure no stone is left unturned, which will improve the overall quality of the result," said Commissioner Randall Davis.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The Maine Legislature has gone into recess, leaving such major issues as tax conformity and Clean Election funding unresolved. House Republicans rejected a proposal from Democrats to break the impasse.

Tempers are short at the State House, and Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau is calling on leaders to work on finding a solution.

“I am hopeful that in the next two or three days that leadership will get in this building, find a solution to this problem, and complete the work that the people of this state sent us to do,” Thibodeau said.

Maine Forest Rangers

By wide margins, lawmakers have overridden Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of legislation allowing forest rangers to carry firearms, ending a long legislative fight.

Rep. John Martin a Democrat from Eagle Lake, opposed the measure in the past, but voted against the veto.

“I know it is a difficult change for many of us who have taken the position that I have over the years,” says Martin. “But in this day and age. I’m convinced the right thing to do today is override the Governor’s veto.”

By a large margin, lawmakers voted to override Governor Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to fund Maine’s county jails.

The measure is aimed at helping the jails address the demands caused by more inmates, and by inmates who need costly medical or mental health care. It provides an ongoing $3 million appropriation and a one-time use of another $3 million from surplus funds in accounts of the state’s professional licensing boards.

House Minority Leader Rep. Ken Fredette, a Republican from Newport, had urged the house sustain the veto.

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