AUGUSTA — A new report says private money surpassed spending by the Maine Clean Election Act Fund in last year’s legislative races for the first time since 2002.
Maine Citizens for Clean Elections’ report released Tuesday also says individuals, political action committees, businesses and labor organizations spent substantial sums directly and indirectly to support and oppose legislative candidates. The group supports the Maine system of public funding for legislative and gubernatorial candidates who qualify.
It says entities with hired lobbyists contributed more than $1.4 million, accounting for more than 12 percent of total spending. Business interests and labor organizations combined leveraged more than $3 million, with business contributions considerably eclipsing those by labor unions.
The report says public funding for legislative candidates last year through the Clean Election Act was $1.9 million.