After noting dark money popping up on Facebook in the form of ads supporting incumbent Democrats Claxton and Sheats, I wanted to see how much dark money has been spent in addition to the Maine “Clean” Election funds that each received.

What I found was nothing that really shocked me.

As of last week, Sheats has qualified for $11,450 in “Clean Election” taxpayer funds while $17,704.57 in dark money has been expended on her behalf. Libby raised about $32,000 in “traditional” funds and about $6,700 in dark money has supported her candidacy, and more than $4,000 spent to oppose her.

I decided to look at the state Senate District 20 race on the Maine Ethics Committee website. This contest pits Sen. Ned Claxton, M.D., the incumbent, against Matt Leonard, retired Navy veteran and small businessman. This is a state Senate race in a district that includes Auburn, New Gloucester, Poland, Mechanic Falls and Minot.

As of Oct. 23, Claxton received $68,700 in taxpayer funds. Dark money totaled $ 227,259.09. Eye popping, indeed. It goes without saying the special interest funds haven’t been kept out of Sen. Claxton’s campaign.

Candidate Leonard has reported raising $13,101 through traditional financing, and has had no dark money spent on his behalf.

I am amazed that dark money would be so interested in a Maine Senate contest.

It is said that “money is the mother’s milk of politics.” In return for the money, favors inevitably follow. “Quid pro quo.”

And let’s put aside the notion that Maine Clean Elections has ended dark money in Maine politics. It hasn’t.

Bob Stone, Auburn

Editor’s note: Mr. Stone’s reference to “dark money” is defined by the Maine Ethics Commission as independent expenditures, or expenditures that are made by a person, party committee or political action committee to expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, as defined in state law. It is not money paid directly to a candidate. To view campaign financial filings, go to: https://mainecampaignfinance.com/

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