During an interesting Facebook exchange Tuesday evening, Defense of Liberty PAC chairman Eric Brakey made a serious charge against legislators in Augusta. The conversation, which was centered around the Governor Paul LePage re-election fundraiser with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, featured a public debate between Brakey and Washington County State Committeewoman Violet Willis. When Willis noted that Brakey attacked her for voicing her concerns about the Bush fundraiser, Brakey dropped the charge in defense of his character.
“Violet, I am in Augusta several times a week pushing liberty issues. In the last week, I have received threats of physical violence from legislators for raising attention to their bad votes. Please don’t question my integrity.”
Requests for comment and further clarification were ignored and at the end of the evening, Brakey removed the comment.
A great deal of mystery surrounds this allegation. Brakey did not offer the names of the legislators or how they threatened physical harm. He also did not clarify whether the police was contacted to file a report.
Since coming to Maine with the Ron Paul presidential campaign in late 2011, Brakey has been a controversial figure in Maine politics. At the tumultuous and chaotic Republican State Convention in May 2012, he was the State Director responsible for the Ron Paul ground game. Although the Paul supporters would secure the National Delegation and hold the majority that weekend, the battle was far from over. As the primary wrapped up that summer, Brakey launched the Defense of Liberty PAC. Also that summer, outgoing National Committeewoman Jan Staples and Mitt Romney presidential campaign State Chairman Peter Cianchette would file a challenge against the National Delegation with the RNC, resulting in another Paul vs. Romney battle.
So far in 2013, Brakey has integrated well with the Republican leadership that has long opposed the libertarian grassroots. He is a member of the Maine Republican Party Rules Committee and is preparing a State Senate run against Democratic State Senator John Cleveland.
Who threatened physical violence against Brakey is anyone’s guess, as he has made friends and enemies across the political spectrum. The issue is still of great concern. It has long been apparent that the partisan tensions in Augusta are excessive and politicians frequently are more concerned with winning a war over the other party, rather than improving the lives of Mainers. The revelations of intimidation tactics against those participating in political processes is significant, however.
A lot of questions still stand. Did Brakey pull the comment out of fear of retaliation against him? If this is the case, than the police should be consulted or names should be revealed. Regardless of party affiliation or position on the political spectrum, we should all be vigilant against attempts to intimidate and inflict violence. Furthermore, regardless of personal or political feelings regarding Brakey, all should be concerned about this stunning development.
This should not be allowed to pass, though. If any legislators are indeed threatening Brakey for criticizing their votes, a common event in the political arena, they are likely doing the same to other individuals who simply wish to participate in the political process. Thus, it is the best interests of not only his own personal safety but those of all Maine citizens, for him to take the stand.
Although initially refusing to comment and pulling the post, we can only hope that the Defense of Liberty PAC chairman will not continue to sit on this information. There is no excuse for threats of physical violence, especially when it comes from elected officials who citizens send to Augusta to represent their best interests. These figures need to be exposed for their acts of intimidation and be met with justice, before they threaten anymore political opponents in Augusta.