AUGUSTA —A new law has gone into effect that increases the ethics and transparency of how legislators use political action committees (PACs).
Sen. Justin Chenette's bill LD 256, “An Act To Ban the Use of Leadership Political Action Committees for Personal Profit” passed the Senate and House of Representatives unanimously last year. The Governor signed the measure into law.
This law will prevent legislators and candidates from profiting off political contributions by using PACs to loan their private business money. It will also bar individuals from commingling personal and PAC funds to avoid possible misuse.
“Every single Democrat, Republican, and Independent spoke loud and clear that closing this campaign finance loophole is the right thing to do,” said Sen. Chenette. “Mainers deserve a political system that benefits the public good rather than coating the lines of insiders’ pockets.”
After a Republican legislative leader had to step down from his leadership role due to ethics issues in 2017, Sen. Chenette knew we needed to look deeper at legislative-led PACs. It turns out, at that time, it wasn’t illegal for a legislator to use a PAC, which can accept unlimited amounts of money, as a personal or business slush fund. This new law limits the likelihood of further abuses of PACs.
This law is a part of Sen. Chenette’s successful 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,” that became law with the Governor's signature and LD 54, “An Act To Limit the Influence of Lobbyists by Expanding the Prohibition on Accepting Political Contributions,” which has since become law without the Governor’s signature.
Sen. Chenette is Chair of the Government Oversight Committee and is a member of the Senate Ethics Committee.
AUGUSTA — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Justin Chenette to end the revolving door of lawmakers becoming lobbyists became law after Governor Janet Mills signed the measure.
LD 76, “An Act To Strengthen the Integrity of the Legislature,” bans legislators from any compensated lobbying for a full year after their legislative service ends.
The bill passed both the Senate and House of Representatives unanimously last year.
“We must limit the undue influence lobbyists have over our government, and nothing speaks to this issue more than lawmakers and lobbyists swapping roles,” says Sen. Chenette. “Closing this loophole ensures former lawmakers will have to follow transparency and ethics rules and hopefully discourage them from getting a lucrative lobbying gig so soon after they leave elected office.”
Current law had allowed former legislators to immediately become lobbyists at the conclusion of their legislative service as long as it’s less than 8 hours a month. LD 76 closed this loophole by requiring a full year waiting period before any compensated lobbying could take place. The AP ran a story highlighting the issue here.
Back in 2017, the Maine Ethics Commission voted to recommend a similar solution to bar all lobbying by former legislators in the first year after their tenure ends. This bill is modeled on their suggestion.
“Questions of fair access may be exacerbated when some lobbyists have easier access to lawmakers than others, especially for revolving door lobbyists — those former legislators or executive branch officials who leave the government to go into the private sector and work to influence their former colleagues,” said Ann Luther, Advocacy Chair of the Maine League of Women Voters, which endorsed the proposal.
This bill is part of larger campaign finance reform package from Sen. Chenette. LD 256, “An Act To Ensure Responsible Operation of Political Action Committees,” was signed into law by the governor, and LD 54, “An Act To Limit the Influence of Lobbyists by Expanding the Prohibition on Accepting Political Contributions,” has since become law without the Governor’s signature.
Sen. Chenette is Chair of the Governor Oversight Committee and is a member of the Senate Ethics Committee
AUGUSTA — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, to reduce the outside influence of money in politics became law this weekend. LD 54, “An Act To Limit the Influence of Lobbyists by Expanding the Prohibition on Accepting Political Contributions,” puts restrictions on lobbyists using their money to influence electoral and policy outcomes.
“We have achieved another anti-corruption win,” said Sen. Chenette. “We are holding lobbyists more accountable now than ever before, and we’re preventing undue influence, to ensure we have a government that truly works for Maine people.”
Rep. Justin Chenette
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