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Clean Elections Supporters Demand Return of Funds Tapped by Lawmakers

AUGUSTA, Maine - Saying "No More IOU's," supporters of Maine's Clean Election Law are demanding that the Legislature return $1.7 million lawmakers withdrew from the Clean Election Fund last year.

In November, Maine voters approved - by a wide margin - an initiative to boost funding for publicly-financed political campaigns for governor and the Legislature from $2 million to $3 million a year.

But the ballot measure left open the question of where the additional funding would come from. Andrew Bossie, executive director of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, says the program is in jeopardy.

"Since Clean Elections first became law in the 1990's, successive governors and legislators have taken money out of the Clean Elections fund and used it for other programs, then promising to return it for the next election," Bossie said. "But over the years much more money has been taken out of this fund than has been returned."

Bossie says this means there are worries every election that the Clean Election money will run out before Election Day.

Ed is a Maine native who spent his early childhood in Livermore Falls before moving to Farmington. He graduated from Mount Blue High School in 1970 before going to the University of Maine at Orono where he received his BA in speech in 1974 with a broadcast concentration. It was during that time that he first became involved with public broadcasting. He served as an intern for what was then called MPBN TV and also did volunteer work for MPBN Radio.
Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.