Keep foreign money out of Maine elections

To the editor,

Here in Maine, we’re seeing more and more influence by foreign governments over our everyday lives. Versant, a major power utility company based out of Bangor, is owned wholly by a foreign government and recently, Maine endured the most expensive referendum election in Maine history with the majority of the funding coming from Hydro-Quebec, a Crown Corporation owned entirely by a foreign government, and CMP/Avangrid, subsidiaries of a Spanish multinational conglomerate.

During that referendum, my colleagues in the Maine Legislature considered a bill to close the loophole that Hydro-Quebec exploited to funnel foreign taxpayer money through a PAC to directly influence our vote. Shockingly, a Hydro-Quebec representative, Sophie Brochu, testified that even though Mainers are strictly prohibited from spending money to influence Canadian referendums, passing a similar restriction in Maine would violate their “right” to electioneer on this side of the national border. Unfortunately, after an extensive lobbying effort by Hydro-Quebec, CMP and others with financial interests in this referendum question, LD 194 failed on a misguided veto by just one vote in the State Senate.

Thankfully, the author of that bill, Senator Rick Bennett (R), and the author of a similar bill, Hon. Kyle Bailey (D) have teamed up to bring this critical issue directly to Maine voters with a ballot initiative campaign called Protect Maine Elections. They are currently in the process of collecting signatures to qualify this important referendum for the statewide ballot. I hope that you will join me in supporting this commonsense, bipartisan effort to protect statewide votes initiated by Mainers from undue foreign interference. To learn more, visit protectmaineelections.com.

Nathan Carlow
State Representative

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