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Maine Citizens for Clean Elections to propose limits on gifts to PACs

Blethen Maine Newspapers carries this report: The state's leading advocate for campaign-finance reform is expected to ask the Legislature to limit how much money contributors can give to political action committees as part of a reform package to be submitted to lawmakers next year.

But the Maine Citizens for Clean Elections is not recommending that the Legislature prohibit publicly financed candidates from having privately funded PACs. A study by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram last summer found that about 20 PACs run by publicly funded lawmakers raised almost $350,000 from private sources through mid-July.

Contributions to PACs controlled by lawmakers are "the last bastion of big money influence in Maine" so there should be limits on the size of those gifts, Barbara Burt, who co-chairs the advocacy group, said in a statement.

She said her group has not decided yet what those ceilings should be. Maine Citizens for Clean Elections champions the voter-approved Clean Election Act, in part to curb the political influence of special interests, so setting limits on gifts to PACs is consistent with that goal. The Clean Election Act provides optional public financing for gubernatorial and legislative candidates as an alternative to private campaign funding. -- Group backs cash limits on PACs (MaineToday.com)