Outlet: Maine Insights
Date: June 18, 2012
Topic: Denial of political statement on state funded mailer.
Author: Ramona du Houx
Solon – On June 18, 2012, Maine Insights, a Maine magazine that claims a readership of 23,000 published a story regarding the political, public and personal situation of Representative Alex Cornell du Houx and Representative Erin Herbig.
The focus of the story was on the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Bob Nutting, denying du Houx’s request to send a personal political statement regarding the situation via a taxpayer funded constituent letter.
There are several components of the article published by Maine Insights that have been flagged for M.A.P. review.
Failure to Disclose: The byline on the Maine Insights website credits Ramona du Houx as the author of the article. Ramona du Houx is the mother of Representative Alex Cornell du Houx, who is the subject of the article. There is no disclosure in the article, and one has to search deep into previous articles published by Maine Insights to find any mention of this relationship at all. Readers should be told with a complete and full disclosure in the article of this relationship.
Personal political issue: du Houx asserts in the article that simply because the matter regarding her son and Rep. Herbig became public, taxpayers should be forced to fund his statement in a constituent letter. Constituent letters are used to update constituents on matters concerning public policy, civic engagement and news that affects the lives of constituents.
A personal matter, such as allegations of domestic violence, is certainly a questionable, at best, topic for a taxpayer funded mailing. Typically, politicians would make a statement to local media outlets, hold a press conference, or marshal private resources to deliver this message to constituents. Using taxpayer funds to deliver this message with a constituent letter may well cross the line into using state resources for political purposes. This is unacceptable.
Unsourced leak “reports”- The author closes the article with the following statement: “According to a news report the House Speakers Office leaked the information to the press to make the issue public.”
Here the author claims a “news report” is the source for a claim that the House Speakers Office leaked the information, yet the author provides no source to substantiate this claim. Therefore, the claim cannot be confirmed, and it is left as an unsubstantiated and baseless attack on House Speaker Bob Nutting.