Clean Elections Act

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Advocates for Maine's public campaign financing program say the court order that forced the LePage administration to release more than $1 million owed to qualified candidates also resolves a drafting error that's frozen millions more for the Clean Elections program.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Maine's publicly-financed candidates will finally be getting $1 million in campaign funds despite Republican Gov. Paul LePage's attempt to unilaterally block the funding and a last-minute move by his administration that threatened to delay payments to 120 legislative candidates and a gubernatorial hopeful.

AP Photo

Gov. Paul LePage says that he has not decided what his next step will be after a Maine Superior Court justice ordered the release of about $1.4 million in Clean Elections funds before next Tuesday.

“I am going to take the weekend and think about what we are going to do,” says LePage. “We got several options, and we are looking at different options.”

Associated Press

A Superior Court judge has ruled that the Maine Ethics Commission can distribute public campaign funds to Clean Elections candidates, even without the approval of Gov. Paul LePage, who will likely appeal the decision. The outcome of the case could have broad political ramifications.

In his decision, Justice William Stokes focused on the unique nature of the Clean Elections system and how it is funded. The usual state financial procedures, he ruled, do not apply, and the state Ethics Commission has authority over public financing of elections.

AP Photo

Two Republican state House candidates pleaded with the Maine Ethics Commission Wednesday to come up with a plan to fix a severe imbalance in the distribution of public campaign funds.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

An attorney for Gov. Paul LePage will once again appear in a Maine courtroom Tuesday to defend the Governor's decision to hold up more than $1 million in budgeted public campaign funding.

The lawsuit in superior court is brought by seven candidates in what's called the Maine Clean Election program. The taxpayer-financed program distributes payments to candidates who collect a set amount of five-dollar checks to qualify.

Associated Press

Several candidates say the Maine governor's latest push to hold up over $1 million in budgeted public campaign funding "flies in the face of common sense" and legal precedent.

In briefs filed Monday, an advocacy group and 11 candidates argued that the governor is reducing political speech that will decide this November's election.

Gov. LePage and finance chief Alec Porteous are defending LePage's refusal to sign financial orders to release money due to over 120 legislative candidates and one gubernatorial hopeful through June.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

Update: Maine Citizens For Clean Elections File Suit Against LePage

The State Ethics Commission has crafted a short-term fix to sidestep a political logjam that is keeping public campaign financing from reaching candidates. But the commission, which administers these public funds under the Clean Elections Act, says lawmakers will have to address the larger problem in order to avoid possible legal challenges.

AUGUSTA, Maine - One gubernatorial hopeful and 220 legislative candidates who are counting on public campaign funds are in limbo as Maine lawmakers argue over fixing a mistake preventing the release of the money.
 
Lawmakers on Thursday continued trying to hash out a deal that could satisfy House Republicans ideologically opposed to public campaign funding.  Such a fix could return some of the money to Maine's general fund.
 

AUGUSTA, Maine — Throughout the debate over Question 1, which was approved on Tuesday's statewide ballot, one major issue has been its funding mechanism.

A.J. Higgins / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - A freshman Republican lawmaker is encountering some significant opposition - some from within his own party - over his proposal to send Maine's taxpayer-funded campaign law back to the voters for reconsideration.

By Alanna Durkin, The Associated Press
AUGUSTA, Maine - A proposal to ask voters whether they want to repeal Maine's Clean Election law has received a cool response from a legislative committee.

The Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee began on Friday to examine Republican Sen. Eric Brakey's proposal to place a measure on the November ballot to repeal the public-financing elections law and use the money to boost education funding, instead.

Brakey says he doesn't believe taxpayer dollars should be spent on political yard signs and attack mailers.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A group proposing additions to the state's Clean Elections law is one step closer to getting its measures considered.

"Well, people were very enthusiastic," says Andrew Bossie, from Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. Bossie says that Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has certified 80,000 signatures, about 18,000 more than necessary.