A freshman Republican lawmaker is encountering some significant opposition – some from within his own party – over his proposal to send Maine’s taxpayer-funded campaign law back to the voters for reconsideration. Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn wants to repeal the law and redirect the millions of tax dollars spent on legislative campaigns toward local education costs. But some critics say Brakey actually has an ulterior motive. With a title like “An Act To Repeal the Maine Clean Election Act and Direct the Savings To Be Used for the State’s Contribution toward the Costs of Education Funding,” you could say that Brakey’s bill appears pretty straightforward at first glance.
But during his 45 minutes in front of the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, Brakey made it clear that the real target of his legislation is a citizen initiative on the November ballot that would strengthen Maine’s 19-year-old Clean Election Act. “The intent of this bill is to have a competing ballot measure,” Brakey said.
And the measure that Brakey wants his bill to compete against is supported by Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, or MCCE . It would beef up the state’s existing publicly-financed campaign law by giving those candidates additional money to offset spending by their privately-funded opponents.