Attorney explains impeachment process
AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Good Will-Hinckley alleged blackmail situation with Gov. Paul LePage and Speaker of the House Mark Eves is prompting some state representatives to openly call for the impeachment of LePage.
So far, eleven House members say LePage has committed a crime by threatening to withhold taxpayer dollars to blackmail Good Will-Hinckley into firing Speaker Eves. Under Maine law, "Theft by Extortion" is illegal and the definition is similar to what most people consider blackmail.
No governor has ever been impeached in Maine and the laws involving the process are somewhat vague.
First, the motion to impeach would need to be presented to a committee which would put a bill before the House of Representatives. The House would debate the issue to decide if the governor's actions are enough to impeach.
"The House of Representatives could impeach the governor making up whatever charges they want. They can say abuse of power or whatever they want," said Portland Attorney Harold Pachios.
They would need a majority vote in the house to impeach the governor. This can be described as an indictment. The Senate will then be in charge of holding the impeachment trial, similar to one held in a courtroom.
"The senators are weighing whether or not the governor should be removed from office based on whatever behavior is alleged," said Pachios.
This is a long and expensive process. Unlike a courtroom, lawmakers need to think about one other element, the people who voted for them.
"It is a political process so these are politicians conducting the process but the public, the voter is watching, and if the voter is unfair or off based in anyway or political whatever...I know in New Hampshire members of the legislature worried about that," explained Pachios.
In order to move forward with the charge and remove the governor, it would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate.
The group of representatives discussing the impeachment hope to present something to the House by next week.