Saturday is the 13th anniversary of the infamous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, when the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The court decided that corporations and unions (and, by implication, anyone who can afford it) have a right to spend unlimited money to influence American elections.  

As a result of that ruling, spending in elections by dark money special interest groups – and even foreign governments – has turned into an arms race. Records are broken every election cycle, and the voices of everyday voters are continually silenced by the avalanche of spending. Nationally, the 2022 midterm was the most expensive on record, with over $16.7 billion spent in local and federal races. Here in Maine, a record breaking $127 million was spent during the midterm election, mostly in the form of attack ads from outside groups.   

Free speech, it seems the court has ruled, is only for those who can afford to pay the premium.   

The influence of money in politics is threatening our democracy – and 86% of Americans agree. We are at an inflection point and the time for action is now. Our organizations, American Promise and Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, are part of a growing coalition of Americans from across the political spectrum and around the state, including business and faith leaders, elected officials and nonprofits who share our commitment to protecting our democracy from dark money, special interest groups and foreign government interference.   

We are inspired by the tens of thousands of Mainers who have come together to advance the Protect Maine Elections initiative. This citizens’ initiative has two key pieces: First, it advances Maine’s support for the proposed anti-corruption amendment to the U.S. Constitution – a critical step to allow for reasonable campaign spending limits in Maine and across the country. Second, the initiative will prohibit foreign governments and foreign government-influenced organizations from spending money to influence Maine elections, something that most voters are shocked to learn is currently allowed.   

We’ve heard from voters around the state who are tired of having their voices silenced in elections, and the data backs up that feedback: 73% of Maine voters support an anti-corruption amendment to the U.S. Constitution and 89% of Maine voters support prohibiting foreign governments and foreign government-influenced entities from spending money to influence Maine elections. A majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents support each provision.


After over 80,000 Maine voters signed a petition in support of the initiative, the Maine Legislature now has the opportunity to pass the bill. We respectfully encourage them to do so.   

Ten years ago, the Legislature passed a bipartisan resolution that helped launch the national movement for a constitutional amendment to curb the systemic corruption of out-of-control money in elections and protect the voice and representation of the voters. As of now, 22 states have joined Maine’s call to action, and American Promise volunteers and supporters are moving the effort ahead in every state. Now Maine can once again inspire and accelerate the constitutional solution to the nation’s growing crisis of money control of our politics.  

No other state in the country has such a strong tradition of ordinary citizens standing up for our rights as voters and winning reforms that make our elected officials accountable to voters.

Maine has twice passed referendums in support of our Clean Elections law, which ensures candidates can run for office without being beholden to big donors and special interests. In November, Portland voters voted strongly in favor of expanding Clean Elections to city offices.   

With the Protect Maine Elections initiative, once again Mainers are bringing forward a common-sense solution to the problem of special interest money in our elections and providing an example for the nation of our ability to work together to make our democracy stronger. 

We are determined to stop corruption, protect the integrity of our elections, and restore confidence in our democracy. Join us 

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