Chief Justice Leigh Saufley of Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court recently reported its struggle to recruit security staff because salary is inadequate (”Trial clerks, marshals deserve better pay, Maine’s chief justice says,” Feb. 16). Funds are readily available to remedy the situation.

For 20 years, millions of dollars in taxpayer funds have been pumped into an account occasionally referred to as “welfare for politicians.” It’s the Clean Election Act, fostering the illusion political campaigns funded by taxes turn out politicians “cleaner” than candidates managing private funding.

Since its enactment, there’s not a scintilla of evidence the act is working its intended mission.

Successful laws shout. Languid laws are mute. Example: In the 1990s, the late Ron Bailey, bus official in School Administrative District 9, determined its busses, when stopped with red lights flashing, taking on or discharging children, were illegally passed by autos, an average of 43 times a month. The court-imposed fine of $50 was no deterrent. Following increase to $250, violations dropped to four a month. Success as apparent as noses on faces.

Reps. Joel Stetkis and Paula Sutton are co-sponsors of a bill seeking removal of candidates for governor from the list of politicians eligible for taxpayer support. Success on that effort alone will free millions of “political welfare” dollars.

Now and then, troubling uses of Clean Election Act money rears head-horns. Lately, a newspaper account heralded a York County Senate candidate spending $500 on a post-election party for campaign volunteers. The act “rubber-stamped” it “clean”!

In three Senate campaigns, I didn’t enroll as a Clean Election candidate. Still, I felt honor bestowed when, at the Wilton polls to thank workers, a lady put hands on my shoulders and said, “You’re the reason I voted today.”

John Benoit


Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.