For any other politician, I would hesitate to use such a loaded term when describing their actions, but LePage has given us a special license to use that word.

At a town hall in April, LePage declared that state workers in middle management were "about as corrupt as can be." His spokesperson claimed that this was a legitimate charge, even with a complete lack of evidence of any misdeeds, because one of the dictionary definitions of corruption is "spoiled or contaminated."

The next day, LePage doubled down on his attack, writing in a letter to state workers that they had been "corrupted by the bureaucracy" and that it was "union bosses" who had done the contaminating.

The LePage definition of corrupt isn't used much now. Webster's New World College Dictionary lists it as "obsolete," but it is a technical meaning of the word. Perhaps LePage, as part of his new state education plans, just wanted to teach us some etymology and show that corrupt came from the Latin corrumpere (to destroy or spoil) and rumpere (to break -- also the root of "rupture").

A different definition of the word might apply to LePage: The first meaning listed by Merriam-Webter's Dictionary of Law, which states that corruption is characterized by improper conduct "intended to secure a benefit for oneself or another."