Paying more for less

By AL DIAMON  |  August 1, 2013

In any case, the proposed referendum requires full disclosure and limits what governors can do with any leftover funds, so that the money doesn’t quietly slip away to political organizations dedicated to advancing the governor’s agenda, which is what happened with LePage’s extra transition cash.

As for cheating, the current law all but encourages it. Late filings of campaign finance reports in the crucial closing days before an election are punishable by fines that wouldn’t buy a decent dinner at a fancy Portland restaurant. The proposed revision allows for doubling and even tripling those penalties.

Finally, there’s the ridiculous loophole that allows Clean Election candidates, particularly those running for legislative leadership, to use public money for their own campaigns while simultaneously accepting private donations through PACs they operate to help out other political hopefuls. The initiative would outlaw that practice by banning taxpayer-funded candidates from having any role in PACs.

It’s worth noting that in the past, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections has refused to support attempts to do away with this practice, fearful that to do so would annoy powerful legislators. Good
to know the group has finally grown a pair.

I’d prefer to get rid of public funding of elections altogether, but that isn’t going to happen. This measure makes some slight improvements, coupled with some unnecessary expansions of the act. On balance, I’ll probably vote for it.

Remember, I said probably.

When emailing me at aldiamon@herniahill.net, please use privately funded methods.

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Related: Lost in the sound of separation, Feed the animals, Letters to the Portland Editor: May 29, 2009, More more >
  Topics: The Editorial Page , Maine Clean Election Act, Politics + Other Mistakes
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