Letter to the editor: YES race shows need for campaign finance reform

Lorrie Ferrari is wrong to blame the Maine Democratic Party for outside money spent on the Cumberland County District Attorney’s primary race. An out-of-state PAC backed by George Soros was responsible for the ads and flyers distributed just before the primary. The primary winner, Jackie Sartoris, also had nothing to do with the effort.

Our political system is awash with obscene amounts of money used to influence office holders. The money primarily comes from the wealthy and corporations, whose spending is unrestricted thanks to the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizen’s United. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, the Citizens United ruling “opened the door to unlimited and often secret spending on elections.”

tThe deck is stacked against individual voters, whom legislators are supposed to represent. Moneyed interests hold political power.

Maine led the way in establishing a “clean election” system in 1996, allowing citizens to use a number of $5 contributions to receive money from clean election funds. The system is voluntary and allows anyone, regardless of financial situation, to run.

If we had a national system that applied to elections for any office, we might be able to move closer to being a truly representative democracy. A growing body of evidence continues to show that public funding amplifies underrepresented voices and makes democracy work better for all Americans.

Mary Ann Larson

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