For almost a year, Maine's campaign finance laws were subject to a challenge in Cushing v McKee. The lawsuit, filed by plaintiffs Andre Cushing (Assistant Minority Leader of the Maine House of Representatives), Harold Clough (Donor to campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage), and Respect Maine PAC (Andre Cushing's leadership PAC), aimed to:
- Eliminate Maine's Clean Election matching funds system,
- Eliminate the contribution limit for donors to gubernatorial candidates, and
- Eliminate reporting requirements for independent expenditures.
Filed in August of 2010, just three months before Election Day, the plaintiffs aggressively pursued a temporary restraining order so that the laws in question would not be in place for the election. The federal courts denied the case at every level, including the final appeal to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled just two weeks before Election Day that the laws would remain in effect.
Read MCCE statement on the lawsuit - (8/6/2010)
In June of 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on an Arizona case, McComish/Arizona Free Enterprise Club v Bennett, and overturned a similar Clean Election matching funds provision. Consistent with that decision, Maine Federal District Judge George Singal ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Cushing v McKee on the matching funds question. The other two elements of the case - gubernatorial contribution limits and reports of independent expenditures - were dropped.
MCCE was a Friend of the Court in Cushing v McKee, and filed amicus briefs on behalf of our organization and several candidates.
Today, MCCE is working with a broad group of stakeholders to repair the Clean Election Act in the wake of the court ruling. The goal is to ensure that any changes strengthen the program and are consistent with its intent, and to make the changes before the 2012 elections are underway.
- U.S. Supreme Court refuses to enjoin Clean Election laws, 10/25/2010
- Plaintiffs Take Clean Election Challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court, 10/13/2010
- Federal Court Refuses to Block Maine Clean Election Law, 10/5/2010
- Court Rejects Motion to Block Clean Elections, 9/16/2010
- Maine Voices: Suit against Clean Elections law an effort to halt political speech, Alison Smith, Ann Luther, The Portland Press Herald, 8/11/2010
- MCCE Co-Chair Alison Smith on FOX's Good Day Maine, 8/9/2010
- Conservative Groups Take Aim at Maine's Clean Elections Law, Maine PBN, 8/6/2010
- Two options considered for Clean Election fixes, Susan M. Cover, The Portland Press Herald, 8/19/2011
- Maine Ethics Commission Seeks Clean Election Law Fix, A.J. Higgins, Maine PBN, 8/18/2011
- Judge Strikes Down Maine's Matching Funds Law, Maine PBN, 7/21/2011
- Effort under way to fix Maine campaign funding law, Glenn Adams, The Bangor Daily News, 7/21/2011
- High court decision to impact Maine clean elections law, Steve Mistler, The Lewiston Sun Journal, 6/28/2011
- High court won't block Maine campaign law, The Lewiston Sun Journal, 10/24/2010
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy Gives Bopp Another Shot at an Injunction on Maine's Election Laws, Alice McFadden, Christine Parrish, The Free Press, 10/21/2010
- Clean Election Advocates Win U.S. Supreme Court Round, Maine PBN, 10/13/2010
- Judge rejects bid to curtail election funds, Kevin Miller, The Bangor Daily News, 9/17/2010
- Maine Clean Elections Advocates Win Court Round, Maine PBN, 9/17/2010
- Suit Challenges Maine's Clean Elections law, Glenn Adams, The Boston Globe, 8/6/2010
- Lawsuit seeks to halt Maine's matching funds campaign law, Kevin Miller, The Bangor Daily News, 8/6/2010
- Clean Election funds protected by the courts - for now, The Journal Tribune, 10/13/2010
- Thumbs Up - Court affirms Maine law, The Times Record, 10/11/2010
- Our View: Court right to uphold candidate matching funds, The Portland Press Herald, 9/22/2010
- Matching funds are "fundamental matter of fairness", John Brautigam, Village Soup, 9/1/2010
- Guest Column: Clean Elections system works just the way it is, Hannah Pingree, The Bangor Daily News, 8/14/2010