Citizens United is not just a Supreme Court decision; it is a decision of the Maine Legislature, which opted last week to keep big money in politics. Against their oath of office to uphold the laws of Maine, legislators blocked Clean Elections funding to candidates who committed to a code of civility, a modest cap on spending and raising money in only $5 amounts from individuals, rather than from beseeching political action committees and wealthy donors for big, compromising amounts.

Sitting on the revered Appropriations Committee of the Maine Legislature, the committee entrusted with oversight of the state budget, state Rep. Jeff Timberlake early on saw a small typo in the budget that could derail Clean Elections payments to qualified candidates, and chose to ignore it, rather than see that it was immediately rectified, as was his duty. In doing so, he took advantage of an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a vote to keep the error in the budget, and effectively reverse the Clean Elections program. His explanation: Maine House Republicans don’t like Clean Elections.

This is what putting party above people looks like. This is what party pressures can lead to. This is what trusting money more than voters looks like. This is why we need candidates committed to the obligations of the Maine Clean Election Act and an ethics commission robustly upholding its own obligations under it. Maine has what has been recognized nationally as a model for getting big money out of politics. Let’s take pride in it and protect it. We can fight Citizens United here.

Andrea Boland

former Democratic state representative

Sanford


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