7 things Maine should spend $1.3 million on before Question 1

As I said in my last post, I don’t agree with Question 1. I don’t think it delivers what supporters promise, and I do not think it’s an appropriate use of our referendum process. I also disagree with the way the question is being characterized by proponents and opponents, with the possible exception of Mike Cianchette.

But even after posting extensively, there was still something nagging me about the whole matter, so I went back to look at the $1.3-million figure I said the supporters had raised. That $1.3 million was raised from July to September. In only three months.

Stock photo

Stock photo

In three months Maine Citizens for Clean Elections was able to raise $1.3 million (including $350,000 from a liberal organization linked to George Soros) to buy what I personally find to be very expensive air.

As I said in my other post, penalties schmenalties. As long as the Citizens United decision stands, there is no real answer to the influence of outside money in politics. And election cycles will get more and more costly (whether publicly or privately financed) as long as that influence exists.

So besides not delivering much beyond increased costs and a less friendly business environment with ever-shifting corporate tax codes, I’m kind of perturbed that organizations supporting Question 1 could assemble that amount of resources and dedicate it to this sort of endeavor.

I also kind of resent that all the liberal organizations that support Question 1 use their networks to profess that this legislation delivers something the Supreme Court says it can’t.

If organizations want to invest a quick $1.3 million into something poor Mainers really need, how about forming an investment group to buy any one of the many empty industrial sites in Maine and finding an appropriate market endeavor to occupy it? Or how about funding a program that provides mentorship and other support to Mainers pursuing post-secondary education?

How about opening a non-profit addiction treatment center with a trust to help with operation costs? How about buffing up legal access for the poor? How about finding and funding two or three entrepreneurs to open small businesses in different regions in the state? How about dumping $1.3 million into our food banks, homeless shelters and soup kitchens?

How about harassing Congress to do something about Citizens United?

I’ve realized that what bothers me so much about this referendum campaign is that the campaign itself shows the influence of outside big money in politics.

Is outside money a problem for Maine’s elections? Sure. Is it the biggest problem facing Mainers, especially the poor ones liberals purport to want to uplift?

No.

Is the Question 1 campaign a good use of $1.3 million in just three months? This poor single mom says: unequivocally, no.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.