Will Maine join the 22 states which prohibit corporate contributions to political campaigns, including those in federal election campaigns?

Maine’s motto, “Dirigo,” translates from the Latin meaning “I direct” or “I lead.” Maine has and continues to lead the United States: its ranked-choice voting bill received 52% of the vote in 2016, the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War was fought off Machias in 1775, and York was America’s first chartered city in 1641.

Maine can’t be first with a corporate contribution ban . . . but we can be next by enacting LD 1417.

LD 1417 would prevent corporations from contributing to candidates running for state office and to legislator-controlled PACs. This includes contributions to leadership PACs and directly to legislative or gubernatorial candidates.

Large corporations use political contributions to avail themselves of advantages, often resulting in fewer innovative products and/or quality service. Unlike small businesses and individuals, corporations and other business arrangements are legal entities that receive favorable tax treatment and other protections that allow them to accumulate capital, reinvest in their business, and generate profits for their owners and shareholders.

While not preventing owners, employees and shareholders from participating politically, LD 1417 ensures that corporate entities can’t use the capital they’ve generated under special protections to influence the political process.

Currently, nonprofit corporations can raise money from undisclosed donors. This bill will improve transparency and donor disclosure in leadership PACs and candidate campaigns.

Carpe diem, Maine. Seize the day and support Maine’s corporate contribution ban, LD 1417.

Nora Schwarz, Fryeburg

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