Sunday, May 13, 2012

In Maine, "clean" candidates with PACs

In today's Maine Sunday Telegram, I've revisited a perennial issue in Maine politics: should taxpayer-financed "clean elections" candidates be raising money on the side for their personal political action committees, or PACs?

As you'll read, this has been an issue since 2000, when lawmakers noticed and exploited this loophole in the new clean elections law. It has been periodically raised in the legislature -- including last session -- and repeatedly condemned in newspaper editorials from Portland to Bangor.

Today's story examines which clean elections candidates raised and spent money from their leadership PACs in the first quarter of this year, where they raised it from, and who they spent it on. The quantities this quarter were substantial, but not Earth-shattering -- low $20k in and out, or enough to fund five typical House races or one senate one.

More updates next quarter.

A possible clarification: one legislator wrote me this morning to note that state law does prohibit lobbyists from giving to PACs during the legislative session itself (though not before and after.)

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