Earlier today, Auburn mayoral candidate Jason Levesque released a Facebook ‘Press Release’ where he describes the money his opponent Adam Lee has raised compared to his own self-financed campaign.

He made several inferences in his post that Adam Lee isn’t transparent due to taking this money. As someone who cares deeply about campaign finance and government transparency,  I take his accusation seriously. I wouldn’t support Lee as candidate if he were not transparent. I do not see the connection Mr. Levesque is making, so I pressed on him to explain his prior and current fundraising and to elaborate how Adam Lee would not be transparent in his serving of Mayor.

Not long into our discussion, he BANNED me from being able to respond to any posts.  What did I say to deserve that? Fortunately, I took screenshots of my posts and was able to preserve them before he banned me.

Here is Mr. Levesque’s original post and then my screenshots of our conversation, almost all of which is no longer available because my posts were banned.

“Public Statement- Levesque for Mayor of Auburn
Campaign Finance Reports
October 27, 2017

Today’s first campaign finance report to the Auburn City Clerk’s office revealed that Adam Lee has raised Thousands of dollars, including several “maximum contributions”, from people closely aligned with the effort to merge Lewiston and Auburn. This is a shocking revelation for a candidate running on a “trust and transparency” platform. We can only assume that this group of citizens is ‘hedging’ their bets with the hope that if the merger fails at the polls that Adam Lee will keep the issue alive and work at furthering efforts to merge the two cities during his term as mayor.

“I decided early on in my campaign to be Auburn’s next mayor and not its last that I would not ask everyday residents struggling to put food on their table for money for campaign signs and the like. Auburn’s tax burden is at an all time high and I felt that it was not appropriate to ask for campaign contributions that would only further hurt people’s financial situation.”—Jason Levesque.

The Jason Levesque mayoral campaign reported that the campaign has spent a total of $3366.16 to date, all of which has been funded by the candidate himself. In addition to not burdening residents, Levesque said that this was a decision that was made at the beginning of the campaign due to the candidate’s desire to not be beholden to any special interest group or individual person’s interests that may not be in the best interest of the City of Auburn and its residents.”

I don’t understand why Adam Lee fundraising means he isn’t transparent, and I don’t believe Mr. Levesque truly thinks it is either. To me, this just sounds like Washington-style mud-slinging during a local campaign to gain political points. All it took was 30 seconds of Googling to see that Mr. Levesque has raised lots of funds in his previous failed campaigns as well. I brought this up in my first post:

levesque campaign finance fb post 2

My post was definitely a little snarky, but I think I did a good job remaining respectful, civil and calling him out on when it is or isn’t okay to fund raise. His response and my next response follows:

levesque campaign finance fb post 3

I didn’t attack him, rather, I asked him questions: Why is it different when you raise money? Why is it bad when Adam Lee does? Should the wealthy have an advantage in politics since they can self-fund their campaigns?

He cryptically mentions “following the money” so I ask him to clarify exactly what he is saying. It’s the final question he allows me to ask before banning me.

levesque campaign finance fb post 4

I am seeking out him to clarify his own words with his own press release! Mr. Levesque then ignores my question for clarification, and then under someone else’s post, he accuses me and City Councilor Grady Burns of being full of hate, partisanship or personal attacks. This blows me away. Why would he think that, because I’m requesting he clarify his inferences towards Adam Lee?

levesque campaign finance fb post 10

I attempted to respond, apologizing for any miscommunication about personal attacks or feeling offended, and to get the conversation back on track, I re-posted my original question that went unanswered:

levesque campaign finance fb post 5 dodging

Once I posted this question for the second time, I went to refresh the page. I had been banned from posting! (I didn’t get a screenshot of the final post I made)

levesque campaign finance fb post 6

Why? What did I do to deserve this? How is asking a potential future mayor who represents me to clarify statements wrong of me to do? Grady Burns asked Mr. Levesque why he banned me, and his response was that it was a leading question and that I was childish, see below.

levesque campaign finance fb post 8

Only minutes after explaining banning me that I was childish and asking a leading question, he removed his own post. (You can see that it’s gone and now Grady’s next post remains.) I assume that’s because he didn’t believe in the merit of his response. To this point, I’m still not sure why I was banned.

levesque campaign finance fb post 9

I am stunned by all of this. I have so many questions.

Why is it not transparent for Adam Lee to fund raise? Why was I banned? How can Mr. Levesque expect to lead people, especially those he disagrees with, if only a couple of clarification questions prompts him to shut down communication? Are we to expect to see minimum transparency and absolutely no public interaction with Mr. Levesque as mayor as we’ve seen with our current mayor? How can he criticize Adam Lee for not being transparent when he then blocks a potential constituent from dialogue?

Feel free to look into all of this yourself by visiting his post – just know that none of my posts will be there since he banned me.

I’m James Ayotte, owner and operator of Mainely Politics blog and Facebook site. Be sure to Like the page for future entries!

I’m a resident of Auburn, a member of the Auburn Democrats, the Maine Young Dems, Maine People’s Alliance, and the Chair of the Androscoggin County Young Dems


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