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Bill Would Bar Corporations From Contributing To Maine Candidates

The Maine State House is seen at dawn from Capitol Park, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Augusta, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
AP file
The Maine State House is seen at dawn from Capitol Park, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Augusta, Maine.

Maine would join several other states in banning campaign contributions by corporations to candidates and candidate committees under a proposal unveiled at a news conference on Thursday. Supporters argue it will help take money out of politics.

Democratic state Sen. Louie Luchini of Ellsworth, who is sponsoring the bill, said the proposal is the latest of several campaign finance reform measures to come before the Maine Legislature.

“The concept within this bill really isn’t a novel idea. It is already settled law when it comes to political candidates for federal office and it’s on the books in 22 states,” he said.

The proposal drew strong support from Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, but will likely draw some opposition for the provision that bars any business entity, defined as a firm, partnership, corporation, incorporated association or other organization, from contributing, but provides for an exception for a labor organization. The measure has yet to be scheduled for a public hearing.

“Corporations use political contributions to try to tip the playing field in their favor," said Anna Kellar with Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. "That’s not fair. That’s not good for the economy it’s not good for the marketplace. And across partisan lines there is wide agreement that corporations have too much political power."

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.