AUGUSTA, Maine — Supporters of an investigation into Maine’s public referendums say they hope the probe sheds light on whether special interest groups are abusing the process.

The Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee voted in favor of allowing the investigation last week. Rep. Jeff Pierce of Dresden called for the investigation while the committee was conducting its own review of a referendum to allow a casino in York County.

Voters soundly defeated the casino referendum question on Nov. 7. But Pierce says the referendum process as a whole needs a thorough review, because he feels the process has been hijacked by “wealthy special interest groups.”

The investigation will be performed by the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability, which is the investigative arm of the Government Oversight Committee.

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