AUGUSTA – The Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices voted today to immediately disburse all Clean Election payments due to candidates between now and the qualifying deadline of October 16. The Commission also authorized payments to Legislative replacements candidates who qualify for the program by Wednesday, August 22. The funds had been held up due to obstruction from House Republicans and their failure to support legislation that would have corrected a typographical error in the state’s current two-year budget.
Speaker of the House Sara Gideon released the following statement:
“I applaud the Ethics Commission on doing what was right and fair today. All Democrats, Republicans and Independents who qualify for the Maine Clean Elections program should have been able to receive their disbursements without the courts or our Ethics Commissioners being involved. It’s a simple fact that this twice voter-approved system creates trust, encourages participation in our electoral system, and enhances the accountability of elected officials to their constituents.
“The Republican members of the House who refused to support a simple extension back in April also refused to honor their own previous vote on Clean Elections – as well as the votes of their constituents at the ballot box. Their unsuccessful attempt to weaken Maine’s Clean Elections system was also aimed at giving themselves an unfair electoral advantage. While I’m pleased at the decision of our Ethics Commissioners today, let us remember that this delay was wholly unnecessary and entirely preventable.”