Bangor Lawmaker Sponsors Resolution To Get Big Money Out Of Elections
On the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, a group of Mainers rallied at the State House Tuesday, calling for more government control over campaign spending.Organizers of the rally also took exception to a piece of Governor LePage’s biennial budget proposal that would cut $4 million out of the state’s clean election fund for candidates for the state legislature. “The governor’s plan would gut clean elections,” said Andrew Bossie, Executive Director of Maine Citizens For Clean Elections.LePage spokesperson Adreinne Bennett called clean election funding “welfare for politicians” adding the governor, who was not a clean elections candidate, is focused on Maine’s most vulnerable, not Maine’s most vulnerable politicians. The 2010 ruling declared that corporations enjoy the same first amendment rights to free speech as individual citizens do, and can spend as much as they want to try to influence elections.State Senator Geoff Gratwick of Bangor has sponsored a resolution asking the entire legislature to support a consitutional amendment allowing state and federal governments to regulate the raising and spending of campaign funds. Gratwick defeated incumbant Senator Nichi Farnham in one of the most costly elections the state has ever seen. “The amount of money that went into the Bangor race was half a million dollars, $500,000, which is obscene. It’s outrageous,” Gratwick said Tuesday. “It’s just plain wrong. So I’ve become very concerned because I think that democracy is going to be overshadowed, the voice of the people is going to be overshadowed, by money.”On average a state senate race costs roughly $20,000.People attending the rally presented more than 11,000 postcards from Maine voters calling on lawmakers to support the constitutional amendment on campaign finance.