US Supreme Court Brief of Amici Curiae Maine Citizens For Clean Elections: McComish v. Bennett

US Supreme Court Brief of Amici Curiae Maine Citizens For Clean Elections: McComish v. Bennett

February 23, 2011
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Maine Citizens for Clean Elections (“MCCE”) is a non-partisan association of organizations and individuals with the common purpose of working in the public interest to advocate for, increase public support for, defend and improve the Maine Clean Election Act (“MCEA”) and other campaign finance reforms. For its fifteen-year history, MCCE has been dedicated to ensuring the orderly and successful functioning of the election process and Maine’s citizen-initiated campaign finance system.

MCCE has invested deeply in the success of the MCEA. Attempting to address oft-expressed concerns about the influence of moneyed interests on Maine elections and in Maine’s government, the organization drafted the law and successfully campaigned for its approval by popular vote in November 1996. Since then, MCCE has spearheaded significant efforts to educate the public and candidates about the law, ensured its full implementation by the Maine Com- mission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, helped defend the law from the first round of legal challenges, see Daggett v. Comm’n on Govern- mental Ethics & Election Practices, 205 F.3d 445 (1st Cir. 2000), and fought for the law’s full financing. Most recently, MCCE participated as amicus before this Court in Respect Maine PAC v. McKee, No. 10- A362, opposing an application for a writ of injunction against the public financing trigger provisions of the MCEA. The Court denied the application. Respect Maine PAC v. McKee, 131 S.Ct. 445 (Oct. 22, 2010).

Amici Lawrence Bliss, Pamela Jabar Trinward, Andrew O’Brien, and David van Wie are individuals who ran as participating candidates under the MCEA in the November 2010 elections — and who plan to run again in future races. Lawrence Bliss and Pamela Jabar Trinward competed for seats in Maine’s Senate while Andrew O’Brien and David van Wie ran for Maine’s House of Representatives.

Their campaigns demonstrated the benefit of supplemental funds in different types of races for Maine’s legislative contests: highly competitive races, races against traditionally funded opponents who exceeded the trigger threshold, and races where outside groups funded independent expenditures. Each invested substantial resources qualifying for the public funding system and organizing his or her campaign according to its regulatory scheme and each is strongly inclined to run as a participating candidate in future campaigns, but the availability of matching funds is a factor in whether or not each will participate. Pamela Jabar Trinward and David van Wie also participated with MCCE as amici before this Court in Respect Maine PAC v. McKee, No. 10-A362.