The editorial “Loophole opens citizen initiatives to outside sway” (Jan. 14) offers chewing gum and spit to solve a threat to state and local elections. What state right is more basic than our votes in our ballot box?

I propose a state constitutional amendment that requires every dollar spent on any campaign for state or local issues (influence on our Legislature, ballot issues or candidates for state or local office) be raised right here in the state of Maine. Period.

This means ads and their broadcast, support for issues and funds to support a candidate are paid for by Maine dollars. Outsiders are paid political consultants whereby the Maine organization they represent would be billed accordingly. Individual “volunteers” would be ticketed for each violation and treated as a flight risk until the fine is paid. Any outside dollars (real or in-kind) would flow into Maine’s fair campaign fund.

Currently, Maine has good records of funds coming in and paid out on campaigns. Money not raised in Maine is obviously from outside. We have successfully defended our open disclosure law before the U.S. Supreme Court and this law has real teeth when applied to money raised in Maine. Further, this court defense shows my amendment would weather a court challenge.

I am certain other states soon would follow our lead. Until U.S. voters amend the U.S. Constitution to stop money from being speech and corporations being people, our elections will continue to be sold like stock on an exchange or cattle in a stockyard. If we must be bought, let the business of Maine be the business of Maine.

Tom Berger, Oakland

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