Question 2 on the November 7 ballot will ask voters if they want to ban foreign governments from spending in Maine’s elections. Maine Citizens for Clean Elections (MCCE) officially endorses Question 2 and sees it as one way to limit political spending.
Question 2 closes a loophole and will prohibit donations and disbursements by foreign governments, foreign government-owned entities, and foreign government-influenced entities in ballot measures and candidate campaigns. In 2021, over $20 million was spent in Maine elections by foreign owned entities alone.
Too often, there are big-money interests that try to use money to drown out the voice of the voters every election cycle. When the money comes from unaccountable sources, or when the amount of money from one source is so large that it warps the campaign dialogue, it has an undemocratic effect that needs to be corrected. Foreign governments and foreign government controlled entities have the resources and the wherewithal to distort our political discourse.
Foreign interests are not necessarily pernicious or hostile to our government. The simple fact is that they are not part of our population, or “polity,” and have a different set of interests. Their interests and loyalties are to their foreign owners and multinational markets, not to Maine people.
Question 2 also calls on our congressional delegation to support a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would fight corruption and reduce the influence of money in politics. This would turn the tide after the disastrous 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, when the Supreme Court overturned a six decade-long prohibition against spending corporate and union treasury money to directly campaign for or against federal candidates.
Question 2 has broad bipartisan sponsorship, and polls have shown that nearly 90% of Maine voters support it. Over 80,000 Mainers signed the petition to get it on the ballot. MCCE will encourage voters to “vote yes” on Question 2.
Question 2 on the ballot will read as: Do you want to ban foreign governments and entities that they own, control, or influence from making campaign contributions or financing communications for or against candidates or ballot questions?