Rep. Carlow: Keep foreign money out of Maine elections

January 28, 2022

Here in Maine, we’re seeing more and more influence by foreign governments over our everyday lives. Versant, a major power utility company based out of Bangor, is owned wholly by a foreign government and recently, Maine endured the most expensive referendum election in Maine history with the majority of the funding coming from Hydro-Quebec, a Crown Corporation owned entirely by a foreign government, and CMP/Avangrid, subsidiaries of a Spanish multinational conglomerate.

During that referendum, my colleagues in the Maine Legislature considered a bill to close the loophole that Hydro-Quebec exploited to funnel foreign taxpayer money through a PAC to directly influence our vote. Shockingly, a Hydro-Quebec representative, Sophie Brochu, testified that even though Mainers are strictly prohibited from spending money to influence Canadian referendums, passing a similar restriction in Maine would violate their “right” to electioneer on this side of the national border. Unfortunately, after an extensive lobbying effort by Hydro-Quebec, CMP and others with financial interests in this referendum question, LD 194 failed on a misguided veto by just one vote in the State Senate.

Thankfully, the author of that bill, Senator Rick Bennett (R), and the author of a similar bill, Hon. Kyle Bailey (D) have teamed up to bring this critical issue directly to Maine voters with a ballot initiative campaign called Protect Maine Elections…

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We all have a responsibility to protect our democracy and make Maine a better place for our children and grandchildren.

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