Maine's Legislature has given its final approval to a bill that eliminates matching funds for Clean Election candidates if they get outspent by their privately financed competitors. Now, the bill heads to Gov. Paul LePage for his signature.
The Senate yesterday voted to enact LD 1774, which scraps matching funds from the Maine Clean Election Act because a U.S. Supreme Court ruling found it unconstitutional, according to a press release from Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. The House approved the bill Monday. Several attempts to amend the bill to include a matching-fund alternative recommended by the state's ethics commission failed. Clean Election candidates for the House will receive $4,000 and Senate candidates will get about $18,000. Both the House and Senate gave the bill initial approval last week.
MCCE said the bill weakens the state's Clean Election Act and "[allows] more corporate and wealthy influence in our government," MCCE Executive Director Andrew Bossie said in the release. Republicans argued, however, the bill preserves the objective of the Clean Election Act, according to The Associated Press.