Crown Politics

Democrats, Republicans agree to raid Maine Clean Election fund, but not on how much

Good morning from Augusta, where the Maine Legislature came in on Monday to deal with 43 vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage. But Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives left deadlocked on a way to restart taxpayer funding for elections.

That has emerged as the issue likely to unlock a way for lawmakers to finish work for 2018. Now, money in Maine’s Clean Election program is stranded because of a legislative drafting error whose fix has been held up by House Republicans in a leverage battle with Democrats.

The Legislature isn’t expected back until the week of July 23. But before lawmakers left, we got to see House Democrats’ and House Republicans’ proposals for unlocking funding to the program. Both involved cuts and they weren’t that far apart on the issue.

The difference is $500,000 and one tier of payments to gubernatorial and legislative candidates. Under current law, candidates for governor in a general election get $600,000 and then are supposed to be able to qualify for up to $1.4 million more by submitting eight rounds of 1,200 qualifying $5 contributions. Initial payments for state Senate and House candidates are $20,275 and $5,075, and they can qualify for supplemental payments of up to $40,600 and $10,200 more by submitting eight rounds of 45 and 15 qualifying contributions, all respectively.

To read the rest of “Democrats, Republicans agree to raid Maine Clean Election fund, but not on how much,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Michael Shepherd, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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