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Update: On March 29, 2012, Governor Paul R. LePage signed Public Law 2011, Chapter 558 (L.D. 1774), which eliminates the provisions related to matching funds in the Maine Clean Election Act. These provisions were repealed in light of the federal court decisions in 2011 on the constitutionality of matching funds. The law does not make any other changes to the MCEA payment amounts.

2011 MCEA Report

In June 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett that the way Arizona awarded matching funds to candidates was unconstitutional.  The Court’s decision upheld the constitutionality of publically funded campaigns but ruled that the “triggering” of matching funds based on the spending by other candidates or independent spenders was a violation of the First Amendment.

Maine, like Arizona, has a full public funding program for candidates; therefore, the Supreme Court’s decision had an impact on Maine’s MCEA program. In July 2011, the U.S. District Court of Maine issued an order striking down the matching funds portion of the Maine Clean Election Act.

Maine’s Legislature directed the Ethics Commission to study the impact of the Court’s ruling in Arizona Free Enterprise Club and to report to the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee.  The Commission presented its report to the VLA Committee in September 2011.

Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett

Resolve 2011, c. 103, Directing the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices To Study Modifying the Maine Clean Election Act

Summary of 2011 Report on Improving the MCEA Program

2011 Report on Improving the MCEA Program