Monday December 09, 2013 | 10:57 AM

The Maine Citizens for Clean Elections released a report Monday detailing the flood of money spent by outside groups on Maine's elections.

We've covered the rise of independent expenditures often and recently, so readers of those stories will be familiar with some of the information in the MCCE report. However, the group's report also focuses on the shadow money trail, how political action committees registered here act as pass-through agents for wealthy national donors and interest groups that are attempting to spread their influence in Maine while using non-profit organizations to obscure the true origins of the money.

The report also indirectly links the big spenders in the 2012 District 23 state Senate race to national groups funded by the Koch brothers and George Soros. 

BJ McCollister, Program Director for MCCE, said in a written statement that change to campaign finance laws by the U.S. Supreme Court and weak disclosure laws at the local level make it difficult for Maine voters to determine who is spending money to influence their decisions at the ballot box.

“Voters are hearing more from outside groups than from the candidates themselves,” said McCollister. “It is nearly impossible for voters to find out who is ultimately paying for the political ads in our elections. These large, untraceable expenditures pose a serious risk to our democracy.”    

MCCE Report11 TheShellGame Spreads

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Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.

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