December 20, 2012

In Maine, outsiders outspent candidates for first-time ever

The reports add to calls for reforms that would blunt influence by those from away.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Republicans have partially attributed their losses in this year's legislative elections to getting outspent by Democratic groups. But Fredette doesn't expect the party could justify spending public money to even the playing field while an $880 million shortfall is projected in the next-two year budget and the Department of Health and Human Services has a $100 million budget gap in its current budget.

Also, Fredette said, the court ruling significantly limited what the Legislature could do to change Maine's law. 

"I expect our position will be consistent with last session," he said. 

Eves said Democratic lawmakers would take a fresh look at any proposal, including the one promoted by Democrats in the last session. 

Real change may come from Maine citizens instead of the Legislature. 

Bossie's group is collaborating with other organizations to push a constitutional amendment that would overturn U.S. Supreme Court decisions that effectively removed state and federal restrictions on political spending by outside groups.

Several states have expressed legislative support for an amendment, but the odds are long. 

Advocates for campaign finance reform say a more achievable goal may be to require more transparency to inform the public about who is spending to influence elections.

Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

smistler@mainetoday.com

twitter/stevemistler

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