By Associated Press - Sunday, October 25, 2015

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage is stepping up efforts to remove a Republican lawmaker from the investigation into whether LePage overstepped his authority in persuading a private school to rescind a job off to one of his political opponents.

The Portland Press Herald reports ( ) that LePage sent a letter to Republican legislative leaders on Thursday repeating his call for Sen. Roger Katz - co-chair of the Government Oversight Committee - to recuse himself from the committee that voted earlier this month to subpoena members of LePage’s administration.

Katz was one of two Republicans to vote in favor of the subpoenas.

LePage in his Oct. 22 letter said Katz has “ulterior motives.”

“The Senator is vilifying me and using his soapbox at (the oversight committee) to position himself to run for higher office,” LePage wrote.

The committee is investigating circumstances of that led to Good Will-Hinckley withdrawing a six-figure salary offer to House Speaker Mark Eves after LePage threatened to withhold funding.

Committee members voted 8-3 Oct. 15 to subpoena members of LePage’s administration after Good Will-Hinckley school chairman Jack Moore told the committee that the governor’s threat to withhold more than a half million dollars in funding would have set off a chain of events that would have made the school fiscally insolvent.

In a letter Oct. 23 responding to the governor, Katz wrote, “Governor, I am concerned that you may mistake honest policy disagreement with personal animosity. For most of the last five years, I have supported most of your policy initiatives. When our views have differed, however, I have not been afraid to speak out.”

The oversight committee is made up of six Democrats and six Republicans. The committee voted unanimously to undertake the investigation into whether LePage overstepped his authority is his efforts to get the school to rescind its offer to Eves. LePage has described the investigation as “a witch hunt.”

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