ME Commission Seeks Additional Funding to Improve Disclosure Efforts, IT

Maine Sun Journal: “The request, included in a list of changes to Maine statute proposed by Maine Ethics Commission Executive Director Jonathan Wayne, would divert the entirety of state revenue from lobbyist registration fees to the commission.

“The commission receives half of all lobbying fees, and the other half goes to the state’s General Fund.”  This currently amounts to between $55,000 and $65,000 annually.

“’Businesses, nonprofits and others are subsidizing the general costs of Maine government — just for the privilege of petitioning the Legislature,’ Wayne said in the letter. Instead, the commission staff would like to propose that our agency receive the entire fee and use the increased revenue for [information technology] expenses to better disclose lobbying and campaign finance information to the public.”

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MA Editorial Joins Gov’s Call for Capping Contributions by Campaign, Calls for Further Limits on Money

Enterprise News: “There’s a reason Massachusetts campaigns begin 14 months before Election Day. Unlike federal laws, which limit donations by election cycle, state law goes by the calendar year. That encourages campaigns to get donors to give the maximum amount the year before the election, then go after them again the next year. It also means that, for incumbents especially, the pursuit of campaign contributions goes on year in and year out.

“Baker has proposed removing the incentive to squeeze campaign donors early and often. He has called for capping individual contributions at $1,000 for the primary campaign and $1,000 for the general election.”

Editorial also supports Baker’s proposal to change the primary calendar and calls for changing municipal election days to the general election.