Maine Governor to Feds: “States Don’t Work for You”

fed govt statesBy Mike Maharrey

Maine Gov. Paul LePage recently demonstrated exactly how states should handle the federal government. Just tell it, “No!”

In July, the U.S. Department of Commerce sent a request to LePage, asking him to turn over classified state information relating people on Maine’s welfare roles. According to Maine Wire, the feds wanted “access to data from your state’s food assistance, family assistance and welfare programs.”

LePage refused to cooperate, telling the feds “states don’t work for you.”

This is a bold request, considering almost every request Maine makes of the federal government is denied and our efforts at reform are generally met with a resounding ‘no.’ The Obama administration has been reflexively obstructionist in its dealings with Maine, particularly as they relate to our welfare programs, and now it expects cooperation with a request of its own regarding our welfare programs. It is important for President Obama and the entire federal government to know: states don’t work for you. Our relationship is a two-way street. [Emphasis added]

He went on to emphatically refuse cooperation with the request.

To answer your question, I will absolutely not be directing Maine’s welfare program directors to enter into a data-sharing agreement with your staff for the purposes outlined in your letter.

Granted, this represents just a mild rebuke of federal meddling. The state of Maine remains eyeball deep in federal mandates, regulations and unconstitutional intrusions into state power. Undoubtedly, the state receives millions of dollars in federal money to run its welfare programs. So, this was little more than a small moment of defiance. Nevertheless, it is nice to see a governor tell the feds to take a hike.

Other states need to follow suit. Because at the core, LePage is right.

The states don’t work for the federal government. They don’t have to cooperate with federal programs and enforcement of federal regulations. Even the Supreme Court agrees, having established the anti-commandeering doctrine in cases dating back to 1842.

So, yes Gov. LePage and every other governor across the U.S. More of this!

Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center, where this article first appeared.  He proudly resides in the original home of the Principles of ’98 – Kentucky. See his blog archive here and his article archive here. He is the author of the book, Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty. You can visit his personal website at and like him on Facebook HERE

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2 Comments on "Maine Governor to Feds: “States Don’t Work for You”"

  1. Bottom line; it’s all a bunch of hot air and showmanship.

  2. I admire the chutzpah of Governor LePage, even though the State takes Federal money and is strapped with unfunded mandates. We have big problems with our over extending Federal Government powers and presumptions of power.

    If most States Governors and Legislatures would stand up the Federal Government, we’d have less of it. and more ethical governance . . . after the Federal Government “gets it” that it won’t impose its will on us easily.

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