Angus King for Senate? No thanks!
There are millions of reasons why former governor Angus King shouldn’t be the next senator from the great state of Maine. For starters, he’s an out-of-touch, multi-millionaire one-percenter. Just another plutocrat pretending to be a moderate populist. And Mainers don’t need another millionaire representing them in Washington D.C. That’s why I purchased both the AngusforSenate.com and AngusKingforSenate.com domain names. Because if the former guv decides to run for Olympia Snowe’s seat, I’m gonna have a ton of fun with the Internet. And no, Angus, the domains are not for sale.
People always ask me why I’m so anti-Angus.
I covered Angus during his first campaign for governor and watched as he spent $1.6 million, over a million of his own cash, to buy his way into the Blaine House. (That was a precedent in Maine electoral politics. Now, thanks to him, it's no big deal to buy a political office.) Then Angus had the audacity to keep living in Brunswick, while the taxpayers had to foot the heat and hot water bill for an empty governor’s manse. Plus, we paid for the state troopers and their gas, to ferry King Angus back and forth, at high speeds, to work every day. And for the next eight years, as a print and radio journalist, I had to cover the swarmy gov and he drove me crazy.
(Because the revisionists will start spewing their sycophantic songs of praise for Angus, I’ll provide a comprehensive list of problems with his reign towards the end of this post.)
These days, King is the shrill shill for Independence Wind, one of several wind speculators trying to cash in on federally-backed loans to plant industrial wind farms in rural Maine. These wind farms are the furthest from renewable or affordable energy. In addition to raping ridgelines, destroying habitat and dividing communities, these windmills are bound to become obsolete within the next decade or so, long before generating a fraction of the electric juice promised by King and other snake oil salesmen.
But it doesn’t seem King even needs the mega-bucks he’s chasing with windmills. Back in 1994, after frequently refusing to reveal his personal net worth, Angus eventually admitted to the Biddeford Journal-Tribune that he earned $8 million by selling his company (that taught other companies how to reduce their power usage) to Central Maine Power. And you can be pretty sure he’s even richer, now.
Just piecing together the easy-to-find numbers, it appears Angus currently has plenty of part-time gigs. His directorship at a troubled Maine bank is a good example. He’s been a member of the board of directors of The Bank of Maine since 2010. Formerly The Savings Bank of Maine, this struggling financial institution has about 80 million in troubled assets and the bank apparently lost a couple million bucks last year alone. (Read more dirty numbers here.) In 2010, after serving on the bank board for seven months, Angus took home $21,500 in cash plus stock options worth $18,000. His compensation for 2011 hasn’t been released yet, but it’ll probably close to $50,000. According to the bank, directors are paid $30,000 per year, plus a grand for every in-person meeting, $750 for participating in a conference call, plus $2,500 for each committee seat. (Angus, apparently, sits on three committees.)
I can hear the Kingsters already saying it’s no big deal. After all, a fella gotta eat. True, but after digging around the bank’s annual company report, I also learned that Angus is one of those deluded dudes who think bank presidents are extremely valuable people. Why else would he agree that a bank prez is entitled to a $2,500 a month housing allowance and a $1,500 monthly car allowance? That means the president gets almost $50,000 in annual allowances, plus a huge salary and stock options for over a half million a year. And this at a bank that admits, in its annual report, that there are a dangerous number of potential defaults looming in its commercial loan division.
And don’t forget the annual $27,000 state pension Angus gets (and his widow will receive when he dies) for his eight years as governor. That’s over a quarter-million since he left office.
Plus, he owns a condo in the Virgin Islands that he rents out for a couple grand a week.
And in case you’ve forgotten, Angus really didn’t save Maine or turn around Maine’s economy during his eight years as Boss Hog. Instead, he looked out for corporations and the status quo. And remember, he voted for George Bush in 2000.
Here’s some of his other “achievements” while in office.
He pushed through tax breaks for Bath Iron Works so the shipyard could automate and replace humans with robots.
While Maine's manufacturing jobs headed overseas, Angus touted and coddled call centers as the replacement industry for Mainers.
Angus supported tax breaks for Wal-Mart paid for by low-income Lewiston.
Angus helped create and empower super-flack Dennis Bailey.
Angus sided with lumber companies versus the real environmentalists who were concerned with the poor and poisonous forestry management practices used by industrial tree-growers.
Angus, at great expense, made it easier for Maine school kids to get laptops that soon became obsolete, while arts and sports programs were being reduced across the state.
And during his eight years in office, he never pushed for alternative energy or dealt with Maine’s real energy problem: our addiction to oil and wasting millions of gallons of black gold to heat a housing stock that’s old and drafty.
Sure, that’s all ancient history, but it should serve as a warning. Angus is not a populist. And he doesn’t really give a damn about the common folk.
But it’s not all doom and gloom in the Senate race. Tomorrow, I’ll reveal who I think would make a perfect U.S. Senator from Maine.