On Friday, the Legislature’s Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs will take action on two bills crucial to democracy. One, L.D. 413, “expands the prohibition on accepting political contributions” from lobbyists, and the other, L.D. 300, addresses funding for Clean Elections.

Voters have spoken twice in referendums and supported Clean Elections. Funding for Clean Elections should not have been raided by the Legislature in the past. The full allocation of this year’s $3 million should be deposited in the Clean Elections account along with the balance that is due.

This funding will be needed for the 2018 election. Ensuring that our elected officials are beholden to us, the people, rather than private interests underlies our democracy and all other work that occurs at the State House. The fact that there is not a dedicated fund for Clean Elections is an abomination.

The Legislature should set up a non-raidable method for the annual funding for Clean Elections, so we do not have to worry about whether our legislators are bought off and we can move on to craft solutions for society’s problems.

Regarding lobbyists, I personally know that lobbyists will go to great lengths to ingratiate themselves. One even dog-sat for a legislator since the legislator had Clean Election funding and could not be corrupted with campaign contributions. Prohibiting any gift, no matter how small, will serve to clean up government further.

I would like to encourage all candidates in Maine to run clean campaigns. This means focusing on the issues and your constituents rather than your career path and personal gain. If this is not your intent, I suggest you step back and allow someone who will focus on the issues to take your place.

Ginny Schneider