What’s at stake in the Legislature’s fight over public campaign financing

6 years ago

Good morning from Augusta. The Legislature is set to return to Augusta next week to handle dozens of vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage amid a large pile of outstanding work. One of the chief items is the authorization of Clean Election funding for the 2018 campaigns.

A fix to a legislative drafting error that has kept the fund from making payments to taxpayer-funded candidates since the new fiscal year began on July 1 has been held up by Republicans in the House of Representatives in a battle with Democrats.

Candidates also had their last payments slashed last month after LePage refused to allow a routine transfer and he was sued over it. Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, the advocacy group that is leading the lawsuit, has said their legal argument also applies after July 1 — meaning they could sue again if the Legislature doesn’t make the fix.

Long story short, it’s a mess. We’re not sure how it’s going to be resolved after the Legislature’s scheduled return on Monday. But we do know that most of the key races in both chambers feature at least one or two Clean Election candidates. Slim majorities in both the House and Senate mean that this battle could affect control of the Legislature.

To read the rest of “What’s at stake in the Legislature’s fight over public campaign financing,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Michael Shepherd, please follow this link to the BDN online.