The influx of foreign money into American elections can stifle our democracy. Case in point: the more than $63 million dollars poured in to sway Mainers to support the cross-border corridor project—a project that would ultimately profit energy corporations with ties to Canada and Spain. And, as citizen group Our Power works to push forward their initiative to create a state-run not-for-profit utility company (Pine Tree Power), the foreign-owned parent companies have poured in money to prevent it, outspending Our Power 17 to 1.
This existential threat has spurred Maine lawmakers to introduce LD 1610: An Act to Prohibit Campaign Spending by Foreign Governments and Promote an Anticorruption Amendment to the United States Constitution.
LD 1610 will "reaffirm the power of citizens” by establishing measures that regulate campaign finance laws and secure the sovereignty of Maine voters. Some of these measures include:
Preventing a foreign government or entity, such as a corporation or an organization, from contributing funds to influence the nomination or election of a certain candidate.
Requiring media outlets to remove any communications created by such entities created to sway the public or government officials on issues related to state policy or foreign relations.
Calling on each member of Maine’s Congressional delegation to actively support and promote an anti-corruption amendment to the US Constitution.
This bill affirms the right that government power derives solely from the people. Staunching the flow of foreign donations will uphold free speech, fair representation, and full participation in self-government in the state of Maine.
Over 80,000 Mainers signed a petition supporting this initiative, and folks all across the state stand behind this measure because it will protect elections from corruption and foreign influence. The Legislature has passed LD 1610 and it’s currently on the appropriations table. We urge Governor Mills to sign this critical bill into law.