2016-05-06 / Letters

Vote to override and support constituents

To the editor:

Over the years, the Legislature and governors have raided Clean Elections and failed to return most of the money as they have promised.

The most recent raid occurred in 2015, when $1.7 million wasn’t transferred, after Maine Citizens for Clean Elections had submitted the Clean Elections’ initiative. Without this money returned, Clean Elections could run dry this year, or in 2018.

The people have spoken and with a wide margin said they wanted Clean Elections in last November’s election. Yet many in our legislature are ignoring the will of the people, including Gov. LePage who vetoed LD 1579 which would have restored $500,000.

This is the first time in the history of the Clean Elections Fund that we have gone into an election year with a projected shortfall. In all past election years, the level of the fund has been deemed adequate. That is why the Clean Elections Fund has not fallen short before but could now. This election cycle 70 percent of candidates are running using Clean Elections coming from both sides of the aisle. But if these funds run out they will have no other choice but to solicit outside money from interests potentially outside their districts.

This means that taxpayers’ dollars, intended to ensure a clean system, will be squandered and candidates risk being beholden to outside interests.

The state announced a $72-million surplus. Given the current fiscal situation, it is not a matter of either funding other services or clean elections; funding for both exists. Clean elections form the bedrock of democracy and representative government.

Constituents must be assured that their elected officials represent the voters and not wealthy interests outside districts.

Gov. LePage vetoed LD 1579 for $500,000, however, LD 1579 has no fiscal impact. It simply advances funds already in the budget that would otherwise be transferred later in the fiscal year.

Maine people reaffirmed their support of Clean Elections at the polls this past November. Voters want a strong, fully funded Clean Elections system. This action by the governor and Legislature is counter to the will of the people.

I ask that all representatives vote to override the veto and support your constituents’ wishes.

Marj DeSanctis Scarborough

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