Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) suddenly announced, three weeks before the primary deadline, that she is not running for re-election. This March 1, 2012 Christian Science Monitor article presents the proper leftist explanation: those nasty conservatives in the Republican Party have made "moderates" like Sen. Snowe unwilling to stay in Washington:
Even with her party standing a good chance to regain the Senate majority, Snowe wanted no more of the endless gridlock that has rendered Congress barely able to carry out the most basic functions, such as keeping the federal government's doors open.There is another possible explanation, however, from the Sunlight Foundation, that does not even get mentioned in any of the news stories about this that I have seen:
But in Maine, a few newspapers have speculated that her husband's legal entanglements had a role in Snowe's sudden and surprising decision, which left her with more than $3 million in her campaign coffers and her party without a Senate candidate less than three weeks before the filing deadline for Maine's June 12 primary.
According to the senator's most recent financial disclosure form, she and her husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan Jr., have investments worth between $2 million and $10 million in Education Management Corp., a Pittsburgh-based company that operates for-profit higher education institutions. McKernan is chairman of the board of directors of the company, now embroiled in a lawsuit in which the federal goverment, 11 states and the District of Columbia are seeking to recover a portion of the $11 billion in federal student aid that the education firm has received since July 2003.
Originally filed in April 2007 by a pair of whistleblowers, the lawsuit alleges that the company violated a federal law that prohibits schools from paying admissions officers based on the number of students they recruit and enroll. Those numbers can affect a school's revenues because more students mean a school is potentially eligible for more federal aid dollars. The whistleblowers alleged, and provided documents indicating, that they were paid bounties for the number of students they enrolled.
The Justice Department's decision to intervene on Aug. 8 made the lawsuit, which had been under seal, public. In its complaint, Justice alleged that Education Management Corp. submitted "knowingly false, misrepresented, and/or improper certifications" to the Education Department, stating that it did not offer enrollment incentives to its admissions officers.I don't know what the truth of the matter is, but this would seem like a pretty serious scandal, especially if it blows up before the general election. My experience over the years is that "moderate Republican" like "moderate Democrat" usually means someone who stands for no strong principles, because principles get in the way of looting the public trough.