In the election just ended, unprecedented amounts of money from out-of-state sources went into campaign advertising here in Maine, much of it negative advertising that poisons the political climate. There was misinformation and distortion in political campaign advertising, and people have no idea who really paid for it.
Because of the current legal and regulatory environment, letting the public know who is spending all that money is not always required, and the special interests that are spending these millions are not voluntarily disclosing their donors.
Congress should act to stop manipulation of elections by groups that pose as grassroots organizations but are actually secretly funded by wealthy special interests.
A few months ago, the U. S. Senate failed, by one vote, to take up the disclosure bill passed by the House.
Voters deserve to know who is paying for election advertising. Representatives in Congress should support a disclosure bill before the next election.
Until a full disclosure bill is passed, the League of Women Voters asks that all future candidates disavow secret advertising, and that local media outlets not accept political ads unless the names of their true donors are made public.
Martha Dickinson, director, League of Women Voters of Maine