The top 10 individual Maine donors to state and national political campaigns represent just .001 percent of Maine’s adult population of about one million.
But that minuscule percentage represents 27.3 per cent of all donations to candidates, parties and causes from contributors with a Maine address.
What the elite of the elite lack in numbers they make up in dollars.
How many dollars: $3,950,236 since Jan. 1, 2013, according to state and federal campaign finance reports for the current two-year election cycle. The rest of the state’s population gave about $10.5 million.
The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting unveils its second annual Watchdog Index, modeled after the Harper's Index. We have been performing high level math — ok, mostly grade school arithmetic — to come up with how money was spent on the Maine election this year and finding other ways it could have been spent.
Such as helping Mainers stay warm, sending kids to baseball games or buying thousands and thousands of people Bean boots.
Maine’s ethics agency has proposed legislation that would tighten up lax regulations that allowed a Sanford legislator to pay himself and family members from political action committee funds he controlled.
Commission staff proposed the change in response to a story published in October by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.
The LePage Inaugural 2015 group, which is organizing celebrations to coincide with the official inauguration, is offering a discount to parties of four or more to attend “a thank-you event” for just $2,000 per person.
In the last 13 days before Election Day, state campaign finance records show millions of dollars coming in, millions going out – much of it for the heated race for governor. Use our interactive charts to explore the last-minute contributions and expenditures in Maine’s state Nov. 4 election. Continue Reading →
The number of fundraising events appears to have slowed during this last month as campaigns have accelerated their efforts to raise money from everyday citizens, not just high-dollar donors, through phone calls and emails. Continue Reading →
A veteran state legislator has used a campaign fund designed to help other Democratic candidates run for office to buy tires, pay for car repairs, reimburse himself for travel and pay his wife and daughter for computer services and keeping his books. Continue Reading →
It’s not easy being a voter these days. You’re inundated with flyers, emails and TV and radio advertisements about where candidates stand or don’t stand or will never, ever stand on issues whose complexities are belied by the emphatic and categorical statements issued almost hourly by campaigns. Who can you believe? What’s real and what’s not? Our role at the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting is to help citizens understand what is really going on in state government and elections. Continue Reading →
On the afternoon of Aug. 20, three offenders who owe victims restitution came before District Court Judge Gregory Campbell in his Bangor courtroom. Their cases illustrate common issues the courts have in enforcing restitution agreements. One had been successfully paying back restitution — little by little — on a payment plan; another had failed to stick to a payment plan; and the third left promising to return with money, and never returned. Continue Reading →
Today, we introduce our readers to “Political Party Time” — or, as our colleague Kathy Kiely from the Sunlight Foundation calls it, political “money porn.” It’s a window into how politics really work in Maine, where readers can get the inside view of the soliciting that goes on behind the virtuous image promoted by many Maine politicians. Continue Reading →
It’s election season, and the hyperbole machine is redlining. Endorsements, especially, are the time to lay it on thick and attempt to counter the candidate’s greatest weakness. Read John Christie's "Who Ya Kidding?" column to find the latest examples of "pure wind" in Maine politics. Continue Reading →
A Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting investigation has found that the state system for compensating victims of non-violent crimes is overburdened, uncoordinated and promises what it can’t deliver.
“The system is imperfect and we know it,” said Judge Charles LaVerdiere, chief judge of the Maine District Court.
He said that as a judge in Maine, he’s found that the “vast majority” of people who come to court and agree to restitution payments find out later that they don’t have the ability to pay as promised. Continue Reading →