Sen. Chenette’s bill to ban lobbyist contributions receives committee approval
AUGUSTA — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, to reduce the outside influence of money in politics received approval from the Legislature’s Committee on Veteran’s and Legal Affairs in a vote of 5-4 on Friday. LD 54, “An Act To Limit the Influence of Lobbyists by Expanding the Prohibition on Accepting Political Contributions,”now heads to Senate and House for additional votes.
“Closing these loopholes will ensure high ethical standards for current and former elected officials and help get big money influence out of politics,” said Sen. Chenette. “From tackling the revolving door of legislators becoming lobbyists to banning lobbyist contributions to sitting lawmakers, these needed reforms represent a comprehensive overhaul of our campaign finance system.”
LD 54 would ban legislators, legislative candidates, the Governor, and gubernatorial candidates from accepting political contributions from lobbyists. Currently, the only ban in place is for sitting officials while the legislature is in session. This bill expands the ban to year round.
“Lawmakers should be accountable to the people and communities they have the good fortune to represent in the Legislature. I first ran for office because I was tired of politicians being accountable to donors and special interests and not the working people they were supposed to represent,” said Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash. “Getting money out of politics is long overdue, and I applaud Sen. Chenette for leading the charge on this bill. I look forward to its passage before the full Legislature.”
This bill is a part of Sen. Chenette’s campaign finance reform package, which includes LD 76, “An Act To Strengthen the Integrity of the Legislature by Extending the Waiting Period before Legislators May Engage in Any Amount of Compensated Lobbying,” and LD 256, “An Act To Ban the Use of Leadership Political Action Committees for Personal Profit.” They also head to the full Maine House and Senate for votes.