AUGUSTA — Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, Assistant House Majority Leader Rachel Talbot-Ross, D-Portland, and Sen. Louie Luchini, D-Ellsworth, unveiled legislation to ban corporate campaign contributions alongside Maine voters and business owners at a press conference today.
LD 1417, “An Act Regarding Campaign Finance Reform” would prevent corporations from contributing to legislative candidates or legislator-controlled political action committees, otherwise known as PACs.
“Large corporations have been able to buy state governments for far too long, and regular people don’t have the money to buy it back. It’s hard to compete when your voice is drowned out by outsized campaign donations,” said President Jackson. “Maine people deserve a government that works, fights and delivers for regular people, not large corporations and shareholders. It’s why I am proud to co-sponsor Sen. Louie Luchini’s bill to ban corporate campaign contributions to individuals running for elected office. LD 1417 is about making sure we have a government of, by, and for the people — not a government of, by, and for the highest bidder.”
“By reducing corporate influence in politics, we can improve civic engagement and enable more people to run for office,” said Rep. Talbot Ross. “For too long, a person’s relationship with corporate entities has been a qualifier for elected office and political leadership positions. This is a system that has locked out people of limited means and people from diverse backgrounds, skewing our democracy away from proper representation.”
“This bill is a simple bill. It would ban corporate contributions to candidates for political office and legislator-controlled PACs, reducing the amount of money spent in Maine elections and hopefully, restoring trust in government,” said Sen. Luchini. “It’s not that corporations shouldn’t get a voice in government. LD 1417 is about making sure the voices of teachers, parents, seniors and small business owners aren’t lost in the process.”
Twenty-two states have already adopted provisions of this bill into state law according to the National Conference of State Legislators, including Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Federal election laws already prohibit corporate contributions to candidates for federal office. LD 1417 is supported by Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, Campaign Legal Center, Defend Our Health and the League of Women Voters. The proposal will be the subject of a public hearing before the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee at 9 a.m. Monday, April 26.
Individuals interested in testifying on these proposals should sign up no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of the public hearing at www.mainelegislature.org/testimony. The link also allows individuals to submit written testimony. Interested parties in need of accommodation to participate in the public hearing should contact the Legislative Information Office as soon as possible at 207-287-1692 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Committees are not receiving testimony at the State House complex at this time and are conducting all meetings electronically. Public hearings can be heard via www.mainelegislature.org or live-streamed via www.youtube.com/mainestatelegislature.