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Maine Citizens for Clean Elections v. Lepage

Superior Court of Maine, Kennebec

August 2, 2018

MAINE CITIZENS FOR CLEAN ELECTIONS, SUSAN MACKEY-ANDREWS, BEN CHIPMAN, CRYSTAL CANNEY, GEOFF GRATWICK, LINDA SANBORN, RICH EVANS, WALTER RISEMAN, TOM SAVIELLO, ERIC JOHNSON, ALISON SMITH, and JOLENE LOVEJOY, Plaintiffs,
v.
HONORABLE PAUL LEPAGE, as GOVERNOR OF MAINE, and HONORABLE ALEC PORTEOUS, as COMMISSIONER, MAINE DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE and FINANCIAL SERVICES, Defendants, and MAINE COMMISSION ON GOVERNMENTAL ETHICS AND ELECTION PRACTICES Party-in-Interest.

          SUSAN MACKEY - PLAINTIFF Attorney for: SUSAN MACKEY, MELISSA HEWEY DAVID KALLIN - RETAINED DRUMMOND WOODSUM

          BEN CHIPMAN - PLAINTIFF Attorney for: BEN CHIPMAN DAVID KALLIN - RETAINED, MELISSA HEWEY - RETAINED

          CRYSTAL CANNEY - PLAINTIFF Attorney for: CRYSTAL CANNEY DAVID KALLIN - RETAINED DRUMMOND WOODSUM, MELISSA HEWEY - RETAINED

          GEOFF GRATWICK - PLAINTIFF Attorney for: GEOFF GRATWICK DAVID KALLIN - RETAINED DRUMMOND WOODSUM, MELISSA HEWEY - RETAINED

          LINDA SANBORN - PLAINTIFF Attorney for: LINDA SANBORN DAVID KALLIN - RETAINED DRUMMOND WOODSUM, MELISSA HEWEY - RETAINED DRUMMOND WOODSUM

          RICH EVANS - PLAINTIFF Attorney for: RICH EVANS DAVID KALLIN - RETAINED DRUMMOND WOODSUM, MELISSA HEWEY - RETAINED DRUMMOND WOODSUM

          WALTER RISEMAN - PLAINTIFF Attorney for: WALTER RISEMAN, DAVID KALLIN - RETAINED DRUMMOND WOODSUM, MELISSA HEWEY - RETAINED

          TOM SAVIELLO - PLAINTIFF Attorney for: TOM SAVIELLO, DAVID KALLIN - RETAINED DRUMMOND WOODSUM, MELISSA HEWEY - RETAINED

          ERIC JOHNSON - PLAINTIFF Attorney for: ERIC JOHNSON DAVID KALLIN - RETAINED DRUMMOND WOODSUM, MELISSA HEWEY - RETAINED

          ALISON SMITH - PLAINTIFF Attorney for: ALISON SMITH DAVID KALLIN - RETAINED DRUMMOND WOODSUM 84 MARGINAL WAY SUITE 6 00 PORTLAND ME 04101-2480

          Attorney for: ALISON SMITH MELISSA, HEWEY - RETAINED DRUMMOND WOODSUM

          JOLENE LOVEJOY - PLAINTIFF Attorney for: JOLENE LOVEJOY, DAVID KALLIN - RETAINED, MELISSA HEWEY - RETAINED

          PAUL LEPAGE - DEFENDANT Attorney for: PAUL LEPAGE PATRICK STRAWBRIDGE - RETAINED 07/20/2018 CONSOVOY & MCCARTHY PLLC

          ALEC PORTEOUS - DEFENDANT Attorney for: ALEC PORTEOUS PATRICK STRAWBRIDGE - RETAINED 07/20/2018 CONSOVOY & MCCARTHY PLLC

          DECISION AND ORDER

          William R. Stokes, Justice.

         By agreement of the parties, and pursuant to this Court's Procedural Order dated July 2, 2018, this matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and on the merits of all of Plaintiffs' claims as pled in their First Amended Complaint.

         STATUTORY BACKGROUND

         A. Maine's Budget Statutes

         Maine operates on a biennial budget calendar, fiscal year July 1 to June 30, with the Legislature approving two years' worth of expenditures in the first year of the legislative session. The Legislature provides two types of funding to each agency and department of state government: "appropriations" from the unrestricted General Fund and "allocations" from restricted special revenue funds. Wayne Aff. ¶ 27; P.L. 2017 c.284, §§ A-26. Annually, each agency must provide a "work program," a budget, to the Bureau of the Budget within the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) showing the agency's requested "allotments" of funds to be spent each quarter of the fiscal year. Wayne Aff. ¶ 28; 5 M.R.S. § 1667. Allotments act as spending limits for the quarter. Wayne Aff. ¶ 28; 5 M.R.S. § 1667. The total allotments requested in an annual work program must match the total allocation available in that year. 5 M.R.S. § 1667.

         If an agency realizes that its allotments for a certain quarter will be insufficient, it may submit a revised work program to DAFS, subject to the Governor's approval. 5 M.R.S. § 1667. If the agency realizes its allotments in a special revenue fund will exceed current year allocations, the unused balance of funds from the prior year may be carried forward subject to several conditions, including approval by the Governor by financial order. 5 M.R.S. § 1667-B(2).

         B. Operation of the Maine Clean Elections Act

         The Maine Clean Elections Act, 21-A M.R.S. §§ 1121 et seq., (MCEA) was established by citizen initiative on November 5, 1996. It provides state legislative and gubernatorial candidates with a means of funding their campaigns as an alternative to the traditional method of collecting and spending private campaign contributions. 21-A M.R.S. § 1123; Wayne Aff. ¶ 5. The MCEA is administered by the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices (Commission). 21-A M.R.S. §1124(1). Candidates seeking public funds through the MCEA must go through a certification process that includes signing a declaration of intent to participate and submitting the appropriate number of "qualifying contributions." 21-A M.R.S. § 1125(1), (3), (5). A "qualifying contribution" is a donation of $5 or more made to the Maine Clean Elections Fund ("the Fund") in support of a candidate. 21-A M.R.S. § 1122(7). The qualifying contributions are not donations to a candidate.

         "The commission shall distribute to certified candidates revenues from the fund in amounts determined" pursuant to the MCEA.[1] 21-AM.R.S. § 1125(7). Such payments of "revenues from the fund must be distributed" within 3 days after certification. 21-A M.R.S. § 1125(7)(A), (B), (C). Payments made to candidates immediately after certification or after the results of the primary election are referred to as "initial payments." MCEA candidates may also receive additional payments which are referred to as "supplemental payments." A candidate may qualify for up to eight supplemental payments of a set amount by submitting the requisite number of additional qualifying contributions.[2] 21-A M.R.S. ยงยง 1125(8-B)(D)(2), (8-C)(D)(2), (8-D)(D)(2). The MCEA directs that supplemental ...


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