Nation's First Online Service for Contributions to the Clean Election Fund
Kim Duplisea, InforME
With the 2008 election season upon us, candidates for the state legislature are looking to secure funding for their campaigns. With that in mind, the Maine Ethics Commission is pleased to announce the availability of a Maine Clean Election Act contribution service. This first in the nation online service enables citizens to contribute to any candidate seeking public funding in the donor's voting district. This service, developed through a partnership with InforME, is available online at http://www.maine.gov/online/ethics/cleanelection .
In Maine , candidates are able to privately fund their campaigns or may choose public funding available through the Maine Ethics Commission. In order to qualify for public funding from the state, candidates must show that they have a threshold level of community support. This is accomplished by the candidate securing a minimum number of $5 contributions made to the Maine Clean Election Fund on the candidate's behalf.
The new online service will assist candidates in obtaining the minimum number of contributions by making the contribution process more convenient for citizens. Citizens visiting the site may view a list of eligible candidates in their voting district and make a qualifying $5 contribution on behalf of a candidate using a Visa or Master Card credit card. Users are also able to make a general donation to the Maine Clean Election Fund.
“We are excited to add the option of online contributions to the Clean Election program,” noted Jonathan Wayne, Director of the Maine Ethics Commission. “Fewer people carry cash or a checkbook with them; this site recognizes that fact and allows people to make a contribution using their debit or credit card.”
In addition to the convenience of online contributions, the service allows candidates to view and track their online contributions, and to print a list of contributors in order to complete the required verification with municipal registrars.
The online service for qualifying contributions to the clean election fund launched on February 5, 2008 . To date, 147 candidates applying for public funding from 120 different Maine towns have already received qualifying contributions through the online service. A total of 1,074 candidate contributions have been made online to date. This is in addition to those contributions made solely to the Clean Election Fund.