All that you paid for

By AL DIAMON  |  June 29, 2011

Well, I suppose the Legislature should be on that list, too. After all, it did kill every attempt this past session to modify the Clean Election law to bring it more in line with common sense. For instance, a modest measure that would have prohibited candidates who accept "clean" money for their campaigns from soliciting "dirty" dollars through PACs designed to help them win leadership posts went down to resounding defeat in the GOP-controlled House and Senate — just as similar legislation had been slaughtered in previous years when Democrats ran the show.

It's not like the Republicans didn't promise change.

"I think generally through the budget process, there will be a lot of scrutiny of the money that has been spent on Clean Elections, probably more especially on the governor's race than the legislative," GOP state Representative Stacey Fitts of Pittsfield told the Morning Sentinel last November, shortly after his party won control of both chambers and the governorship.

Indeed, Republican Governor Paul LePage introduced a budget amendment to eliminate public funding for gubernatorial hopefuls. Under pressure from his own party, much of which has become overly dependent on a biennial fix of Clean Election cash, LePage hastily withdrew that proposal, instead opting to cut all state aid to public broadcasting. Eventually, that idea was whittled down to a mere $200,000 reduction, about 5 percent of what the governor originally wanted.

Passing a law to prohibit giving away public money to candidates for governor would have saved 15 times as much — $3 million for those of you who can't be bothered doing the math — not to mention guaranteeing the taxpayers would never again have to pay for Libby Mitchell's TV commercials.

Now there's a deal I could go for.

Contribute to the range of opinions I receive by e-mailing  aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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