Corporations use political contributions to tip the playing field in their favor. That's not fair. It’s not good for the economy and it’s not good for democracy.
Mainers deserve the confidence that their representatives listen to them, not corporate special interests.
Public Hearing: April 26, 2021
Work Session: May 5, 2021. Passes OTP-A in the VLA Committee.
Last House Session: June 14, 2021. Passed to be enacted.
Last Senate Session: June 15, 2021. Passed to be enacted.
It's law: June 18, 2021. Signed by Governor Mills and enacted into law. It will take effect in 2023.
Below, we have represented our data in various ways that highlight what candidates, Caucus PACs, Leadership PACs, and Party Committees receive from all sources versus commercial and corporate sources.
This data shows what recipients have received based on political party from commerical sources.
*Note: It is up to the political parties to self-report these numbers.
Why it matters
More than a third of money raised by legislator-controlled PACs comes from corporate sources. The majority of spending in the 2020 election cycle, including referendums, came from corporate sources, including some from foreign-owned companies.
Money in politics goes beyond just spending in an election cycle. It can affect legislation and progress on a number of issues that come up in a legislative session. You can check out our webinars that discuss how money in politics shape tax policy (which affects your life) and environmental policy (which also affects your life.)
Federal law and 22 other states prohibit corporate contributions to candidates. Maine is lagging behind. It’s time for us to show leadership again.
Conversation on Health Care & Democracy
Perhaps no single topic has proven more difficult to address at the state and national level than health care. Few issues have such a direct impact on millions of families and individuals. And at 18% of our national GDP, no other issue presents comparable financial stakes. As a result, health care industry forces have an abiding presence in government at all levels, and participate in campaign funding for races in Maine and across the country.
Are wealthy and powerful corporations and organizations able to bend health care policy to favor their interests? Is public policy in this vital area subject to the popular will, or do lobbyists, contributors, and other powerful forces stand between the people and the solutions they desire?
Join this discussion with leading professionals in the field to discuss Power, Health Care, and Democracy. Former State Representative John Brautigam will moderate an impressive guest panel:
- Hon. Geoff Gratwick – Physician and former Senate Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee
- Dr. Phil Caper – Physician and board member of Maine Allcare
- Kate Sykes – Former investigative reporter and universal health care advocate
Money in Politics and the Environment
How does big money in politics affect environmental policy? In this webinar discussion, advocates from several climate & environmental groups will join MCCE for a conversation around how money in politics affects their work on environmental and climate issues in Maine.
Money in Politics and Tax Policy
Maine Citizens for Clean Elections and the Maine Center for Economic Policy teamed up to present a webinar on how money in politics shapes our tax policies.
Since the landmark Citizens United decision in 2010, politicians and activists alike have denounced the rise of big money — and corporate money — in American politics. Corporate influence in the electoral process can overpower the voices of voters and warp the legislative process.
Corporate Contribution Ban Info Session: Looking to get involved in limiting the influence of money in Maine politics? Check out this info session about our Corporate Contribution Ban, a bill to prohibit corporations from donating to campaigns, leadership PACs, and caucus PACs in Maine. We discuss what the bill aims to achieve, what is included in the bill, and what steps you can take to help advocate for it to pass this legislative session.
Maine Citizens for Clean Elections officially endorses a Foreign Corporate Contribution Ban Initiative.
This initiative will prohibit donations and disbursements by foreign governments, foreign government-owned entities, and foreign government-influenced entities in ballot measures and candidate campaigns. This evolved from a bill that we supported, which narrowly failed to override the Governor’s veto last spring. It also includes a resolve directing our elected leaders to support a federal Constitutional Amendment that would reign in money in politics.
This concern is based on the belief that our system of self-government should place political control in the hands of the sovereign people, and concerns that foreign interests will meddle with that process to leverage their influence or achieve results they cannot win through diplomacy.
Current federal law prohibits the involvement of foreign nationals in candidate campaigns, but it does not prohibit their involvement in issue and ballot question campaigns. Also, federal law does not address a variety of foreign financial interests beyond “foreign nationals” that may seek to influence our elections.
Recap from the first half of the 130th Legislative Maine session:
It is important that we work to insulate our elections from foreign influence, and these bills represented important steps towards returning Maine elections to Mainers.
Representative Kyle Bailey sponsored a bill (LD 479) that would both tighten the restrictions on foreign contributions in candidate campaigns and prohibit most of the foreign money flowing into issue campaigns. Senator Rick Bennett had a bill (LD 194) that was focused on contributions from foreign governments and corporations that they control or heavily influence. And Representative Walter Riseman (LD 641) had a bill focused on contributions in issue campaigns from corporations with a controlling stockholder who is foreign.
It is imperative that we insulate our democracy – both issue campaigns and candidate campaigns – from direct interference from contributors whose national loyalty is to another country.
We warmly welcome people from other countries to visit Maine and become Mainers, and we also welcome investors from abroad to share ownership in our large corporations. But we need a strong guardrail to protect our campaign finance system from the undue influence of large financial expenditures made by mulit-national corporations whose interests lie elsewhere. We will support the strongest possible bill among those considered this year.