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Matching Funds (after the Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Freedom PAC decision)
In a decision regarding Arizona's clean election program, the United States Supreme Court held that Arizona's matching funds system, which provided additional funds to a publicly funded candidate when expenditures by a privately financed candidate and independent groups exceeded the funding initially allotted to the publicly financed candidate, substantially burdens political speech and is not sufficiently justified by a compelling interest to survive First Amendment scrutiny. Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, 564 U.S. ____, 131 S. Ct. 2806 (2011).
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision also impacted Maine's matching funds system because it was substantially similar to Arizona's. Following the Supreme Court's decision, the U. S. District Court of Maine issued an order striking down the matching funds provisions of the Maine Clean Election Act.
On March 29, 2012, Governor Paul R. LePage signed Public
Law 2011, Chapter 558 (L.D. 1774), which eliminates the provisions related to matching funds
in the Maine Clean Election Act. These provisions were repealed in
light of the federal court decisions in 2011 on the constitutionality of
matching funds. The law does not make any other changes
to the MCEA payment amounts.
For more information, please refer to the 2011 MCEA Report page.
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