News Release

Battles on Campaign Finance


Mass. Legislature Tries to Loophole Reform;
Judge Upholds Maine Initiative

Campaign manager for Mass Voters for Clean Elections, Donnelly commented: “For years the legislature would not pass public funding of campaigns even though that’s what most people wanted. We put it on the ballot and it won by two-to-one a year ago. On Wednesday, the leadership in the legislature put in a huge loophole that allows candidates to raise unlimited amounts of special interest money and then preserve the option to say no to special interest money during the last few months of an election, so they also get public money.”
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Executive director of Public Campaign, Miller said: “The governor of Massachusetts can decide whether he will block the will of 1.1 million people who voted to get big money out of politics. There will be a price to pay if he stands in the public’s way. The voters of Massachusetts have proven the political viability of clean money reform, breaking the logjam that reformers have faced for years at the federal level.”
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week ago, a Maine law enacted by referendum, which was actually the model for the Massachusetts initiative, was upheld by a federal judge. “The court gave a green light for the nation’s first full public funding statute, the Maine Clean Election Act,” said Smith, the co-chair of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections and the campaign finance chair of the League of Women Voters of Maine. “It’s a great victory for reformers… The court rejected every complaint against the public funding system. It clears the way for a system of greater citizen participation and more voices in Maine elections. It takes effect in the year 2000 state elections.”

Staff attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU, which represents supporters of the act, Metzger said: “‘Clean money’ initiatives like the Maine Act already have been adopted in several states and are expected to be on the ballot in several more states in November 2000. These measures generally provide full public funding to qualifying candidates running for state office in exchange for acceptance of spending limits… Judge D. Brock Hornby’s decision makes clear that such funding measures do not run afoul of the First Amendment.”
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Executive director of Common Cause in New Hampshire and assistant professor of political science at New England College, Snow said: “Real campaign finance reform is about restoring the sovereign will of the people. We will not continue to allow public officials who are conducting public policy to privately finance public elections.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167