The Maine Supreme Court has decided not to issue an opinion on whether Bruce Poliquin violated state rules by engaging in business activity while serving as state treasurer. The House requested the court review.
The House's request asked the justices to weigh in on three questions: does ownership of business interests constitute business engagement; would the treasurer be considered to be engaging in business if he doesn't manage day-to-day activities; and does engaging in business activity impact the performance of business duties. In its decision, the justices "respectfully decline to answer any of the three questions presented," saying the situation did not meet the definition of a "solemn occasion," when "questions are of a serious and immediate nature." The court said the findings do not show proof of any constitutional violation that would constitute a solemn occasion, and in the absence of that, it does not provide advisory opinions, according to its decision.
Prompted by inquiries from Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, Maine's Attorney General William Schneider earlier this month said Poliquin cannot engage in business activity during his term and should appoint third parties to handle active management of any business venture. Poliquin is clerk and registered agent of Dirigo Holdings LLC and owner of the Popham Beach Club. The state's ethics commission also declined to levy a fine against state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin for failing to list business interests on a financial disclosure form he filed in 2011.