Should taxpayers be forced to fund their own foes?
A group that opposes Maine’s public financing of campaigns — in particular the perverse requirement that the campaign spending of a candidate not participating in the public financing be matched by taxpayer-funded dollars to the coffers of candidates who do participate — is now fighting another abuse of taxpayer dollars.
The Maine Heritage Policy Center has sued the Maine Municipal Association for using government funds to oppose ballot measures designed to save taxpayers money.
MMA doesn’t deny that the two million dollars it used to campaign against several tax-cut initiatives in recent years are government funds. But the front group pretends that it is not really a “government entity,” even though its membership consists of municipal governments in Maine. Far from being a government entity, they say, they merely “provide professional services to our members as a nonprofit organization.” But this is a distinction without a difference.
The Lewiston Sun Journal observes that most folks would be “outraged to learn that our city council had voted to use municipal funds to influence a political campaign. In fact, we might say it is illegal.” Is the nature of what’s going on sanctified if the municipal campaign contributions are being routed through a nominally separate party? The MMA’s own articles of incorporation state that it must be “nonpolitical and nonpartisan.” That hardly describes spending millions in taxpayers’ money to foil tax-cut campaigns.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.