Candidates who intend to participate in the Maine Clean Election Act (MCEA) may accept limited private contributions (seed money) at the beginning of the campaign. Once the candidate has registered with the Ethics Commission, seed money can be accepted at any time before the candidate requests certification. Seed money is reported in a special campaign finance report submitted to the Ethics Commission when the candidate requests certification.
Seed money contributions:
- must be collected only from individuals
- cannot exceed $100 per contributor
- cannot exceed a total of $1,000 for House candidates, $3,000 for Senate candidates, and $200,000 for gubernatorial candidates.
In addition to cash contributions, these restrictions apply to goods and services (in-kind contributions) given to a campaign.
Candidates must restrict their campaign expenditures to seed money contributions that they have received until they begin to receive public funds under the MCEA. Candidates must strictly comply with these restrictions to be eligible for MCEA funding. If a campaign accepts contributions outside these restrictions, the candidate or treasurer should contact the Commission immediately to request a waiver of the seed money restrictions.
Each member of the candidate's family may contribute up to $100 as a seed money contribution, provided that the money comes from their personal funds.
Lobbyists and Clients
Legislators may not accept seed money contributions from lobbyists and their clients when the Legislature is in session.
Information Required from Contributors
For seed money contributions that are greater than $50, the campaign must include in the seed money report the date and amount of the contribution, and the name, address, occupation, and principal place of business (employer) of the contributor.
Purchasing Money Orders
If the candidate or a supporter pays fees when purchasing money orders for qualifying contributions, the fees must be reported as an in-kind contribution on the seed money report submitted by the campaign.