Initiative that aims to limit campaign contributions to super PACs certified in Maine for Nov. 2024

In Maine, voters will decide on an initiative to limit campaign contributions to $5,000 from individuals and entities to political action committees that make independent expenditures, also known as super PACS. The ballot initiative was indirect, meaning the legislature had the option to approve the initiative outright. The Maine State Legislature adjourned on April 17 without taking action on the initiative, meaning voters will decide the issue in Nov.

The laws that govern super PACs are different from the regulations of other PACs. These PACs can accept unlimited contributions and spend an unlimited amount supporting or opposing federal election candidates, but they cannot directly donate to federal candidates or parties.

The initiative was received by the secretary of state on Oct. 30, 2023, and approved to circulate. On Feb. 22, 2024, the secretary of state’s office announced that the sponsors submitted 76,081 valid signatures. At least 67,682 needed to be valid. The initiative was introduced in the state legislature as LD 2232 on Feb. 28, 2024. No vote was taken by either chamber.

Maine Citizens to End Super PACs is sponsoring the initiative. The campaign reported $1.04 million in contributions, 99.9% of which came from the organization Equal Citizens. Cara McCormick, the chairperson of the PAC, said the campaign expects that should voters approve the initiative, there will be litigation. She said, “But this is actually what we want and look forward to. It has been more than a decade since the Supreme Court last ruled on a major campaign finance reform case. But as the stoic say, the obstacle is the way. We relish this fight. This is how the sausage gets made in a democracy.” Lawrence Lessig, founder of Equal Citizens, said, “SuperPACs have been with us for more than 13 years. So it is understandable that most lawyers believe the Supreme Court has upheld them. It has not.”

Ballotpedia has not located a campaign in opposition to the ballot measure.

In 2023, Maine voters approved Question 2, another campaign finance-related ballot measure. Question 2 prohibited foreign governments, or entities with at least 5% foreign government ownership or control, from spending money to influence ballot measures or candidate elections. The measure was approved by a vote of 86.33% to 13.67%. 

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