Gov. Mills signs into law Sen. Maxmin bill to improve PAC finance laws

Posted: June 22, 2021 | Senator Maxmin

AUGUSTA — On Thursday, June 17, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a bill from Sen. Chloe Maxmin, D-Nobleboro. LD 1621, “An Act To Reform Payments to Legislators by Political Action Committees and Ballot Question Committees,” improves Maine’s laws regarding spending by political action committees and ballot question committees.

“With the signing of these new safeguards into law, Mainers can enjoy some added peace of mind that the people running to represent them in Augusta aren’t just doing it for their personal gain,” said Sen. Maxmin. “Campaign finance reform is a priority for so many Mainers, and this law is an important step in the right direction.”

LD 1621 makes changes to the laws governing payments to a legislator by a political action committee (PAC) or a ballot question committee if the legislator is a principal officer or treasurer of the committee or is one of the people primarily responsible for raising contributions or making decisions for the committee. Those changes include:

  • The committee may not compensate an immediate family member of the legislator for services provided to the committee, or make payments to or compensate a business owned or operated by an immediate family member of the legislator.
  • The committee may not make any payments for or reimburse the legislator or an immediate family member of the legislator for any expenses that are determined by the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices to be for the purpose of personal financial enrichment of the legislator or the immediate family member of the legislator.
  • The committee may not pay for or reimburse a legislator for costs of repairing or maintaining the Legislator’s vehicle or for accessories that are not necessary for the proper performance of the vehicle.
  • A committee or legislator violating these laws may be subject to a penalty of up to $500 or the amount of the unlawful payment or reimbursement, whichever is greater.

“For years, I’ve fought to get big money out of local politics, and for years politicians have been able to use loose laws surrounding PACs to skirt around ethics regulations,” said Sen. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop, a longtime advocate of campaign finance reform. “This bill sets the kind of reasonable spending limits that Mainers expect.”

The law will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.