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Monday August 31, 2015
Posted: Apr 30, 2014

What the whaa? Bowdoin College president gives the max to Gov. LePage

Capitol Ticker — Steve Mistler on Maine politics

There's a lot of interesting nuggets in the latest campaign finance reports submitted by the candidates running for governor.

Here's one: Barry Mills, the president of Bowdoin College, gave the maximum -- $3,000 -- to Republican Gov. Paul LePage during the last reporting period.

That's Barry Mills, husband to Karen Mills, a former member of the Obama administration and once rumored Democratic candidate for governor (Karen Mills has also donated the maximum to Democratic candidate U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud). That's Barry Mills, the outgoing president of Bowdoin, which is regarded in some conservative circles as yet another cog in the liberal indoctrination machine. 

So what's Mills doing giving to LePage, alleged breather of tea party conservatism and fire?

It would be easy, perhaps fun, to think that Mills' donation coincides with his pending release from Bowdoin, the shedding of its oppressive yoke of liberalism and dining hall meals of Honolulu Tofu.

But here's the thing: Barry Mills is an equal opportunity giver.

In 2012, he donated $500 not only to Michaud's congressional re-election campaign, but also to the Democrat's opponent, Republican Kevin Raye. In 2008, Mills gave $2,000 to Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tom Allen. He gave $4,600 to the incumbent, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, during the same election cycle and $2,600 for her current re-election bid.

This type of giving isn't unique to Mills, who may have a lot professional and personal reasons for supporting the candidates to whom he's donated. Savvy business interests take a similar tack, playing the long game. By spreading the wealth these businesses stay engaged in the political process and in the minds of the candidates, while insulating themselves against the inevitable changes in power and leadership.

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