The analysis was conducted in collaboration with the UCLA School of Law.

PORTLAND (AP) – A watchdog group has given Maine a low grade for its campaign finance laws, putting the state in the middle of the pack nationally.

The Campaign Disclosure Project rated all 50 states on campaign disclosure laws and public access to information about campaign contributions and expenditures. Maine was given a D-, which ranked 29th nationwide.

The report gave the state low grades for not mandating electronic filing of campaign reports and requiring only two financial disclosure reports a year for many political offices. Maine was also marked down for not requiring candidates to disclose whom they buy goods and services from.

It received high marks for the ease of searching for campaign disclosure information on the state’s Internet site.

Saski Mills, executive director of the California Voter Foundation, said project set the bar high. Only two states, Washington and Illinois, were ranked above average, and 17 states received a failing grade.

The analysis was conducted in collaboration with the UCLA School of Law and the Center for Governmental Studies. It was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“We’re not out to beat up the states,” Mills said. “We’re out to raise awareness of the need for better campaign finance disclosure across the country. We’re hoping the performance of the states in this area will be improving over the next few years.”

State officials said the report has useful suggestions but fails to recognize the differences between states.

“It represents a one-size-fits-all approach where an organization doing the study is looking for particular items that may not be appropriate for everyone in the country,” said Jonathan Wayne, executive director of Maine’s Ethics Commission.

“They believe all political candidates should be required to file campaign finance reports electronically. We don’t require that in Maine so we received zero points in that category.”

But he was pleased with the state’s high ranking for its Internet accessibility.

“In terms of the accessibility to the public, Maine was rated 14th in the nation, which is not too shabby,” Wayne said.

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