Jackson, Luchini corporate contribution ban earns committee support

AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Veteran and Legal Affairs Committee approved a bill from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, and Sen. Louie Luchini, D-Ellsworth, to ban corporate campaign contributions to state lawmakers in a vote of 8-4 on Wednesday.
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. By limiting the flow of corporate profits into our politics and our government, Maine people can have confidence that elected officials are working for them, not corporate donors and shareholders,” said President Jackson. “By adopting this proposal, Maine lawmakers can send a clear message to the people we represent: Our government and our democracy are not for sale.”
LD 1417, “An Act Regarding Campaign Finance Reform” would ban corporations from contributing to individual legislative candidates or legislator-controlled political action committees, otherwise known as leadership PACs. 
“In the years since the Citizens United court decision, Maine has taken steps to strengthen campaign finance reform laws and improve transparency. We’ve passed laws to tighten the rules around Political Action Committees to ensure lawmakers aren’t profiting off PACs. We’ve put limits on when lawmakers can serve as registered lobbyists,” said Sen. Luchini. “This bill to prohibit corporate campaign contributions to political candidates is the logical next step.”
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. 

“We believe that people must always be at the heart of our politics, and our campaign finance laws must be made in the public, not the private, interest. Corporate interests are and will remain well-represented in the halls of the State House, but the elected representatives and senators are here to serve the people of Maine,” said Anna Kellar, executive director of the League of Maine Women Voters in written testimony. “Every step we take to separate private, special interest money from our highest elected officials is a step that strengthens our democracy.”


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