The Supreme Court’s Buckley v. Valeo (1976) case marked a pivotal moment when the Court equated political spending with free speech, stripping legislators and voters of their authority to regulate money in elections. Subsequently, there was a surge in election spending, exacerbated by the Court’s decision in Citizens United (2010). The month of January marks the anniversaries of both consequential cases and their detrimental impact on corruption and self-government, here in Maine and across the country.

Over the past 14 years, independent outside groups have funneled an astonishing $4.5 billion into election spending, overshadowing the $750 million spent in the preceding two decades. The current system shields the identities of donors, allowing wealthy actors to spend unlimited amounts of money anonymously. Simply put, millions of dollars are spent each election on ads and political action committees from sources acting like they speak for Mainers, when in fact they’re funded by elites in New York, California, or, what’s worse, outside the U.S.

Foreign government-owned entities have spent over $100 million in Maine referendum campaigns since 2020. In this last election cycle, 83% of political spending came from foreign government-owned entities. It is nearly impossible for hard-working Maine voters to be heard through this avalanche of spending.

I’m proud that Maine voters have fought back, sending a clear and overwhelming message last November that they want to restore control of their elections. 86% voted yes on Question 2 to prevent foreign electioneering in the state. This was the largest margin of victory on a Maine statewide ballot initiative — ever.

Now, these very same foreign government-owned entities that have been meddling in our elections are suing the state of Maine in an attempt to overturn the will of the Maine voters and stop the implementation of the Question 2 ban on foreign government spending in our elections. Emboldened by Supreme Court decisions, these foreign actors are taking advantage of the dark money system. It is increasingly clear that an amendment to the United States Constitution is necessary to provide a better framework for dealing with foreign influence in our elections.

Fortunately, Question 2 also affirmed Maine’s overwhelming support for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will give states and Congress the power to set reasonable limits on political spending.


A constitutional amendment is essential. Buckley and Citizens United stripped state legislatures of their power to set reasonable limits on election spending. Foreign government owned entities are emboldened to challenge laws attempting to curb their influence due to 50 years of bad Supreme Court precedents. If ratified, an amendment can help empower states to set limits and restore the people’s voice in government.

I take this personally. I ran for office to represent my community and implement positive change in Maine. My constituents have made clear that they support banning foreign governments from spending in our elections, and that they support an amendment to restore the voice of the voters and rid ourselves of pay-to-play politics.

There are very few issues that Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on, but we can all rally around the need to protect our elections from outsiders and foreign interests.

This message needs to be carried to Washington. I urge our congressional delegation to support the For Our Freedom Amendment and restore a government that works for we the people.

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