Maine small business owners discuss dangers of money in politics with congressional leader

Maine small business owners discuss dangers of money in politics with congressional leader

On Tuesday, members of the Maine Small Business Coalition (MSBC) met with Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Maryland) to discuss how big money influencing elections and policy is often harmful to the interests of local businesses. Sarbanes is a national leader on campaign finance reform and has worked to break the hold that corporate lobbyists have on the federal government. The meeting was hosted by Mainers for Accountable Elections, the group behind Question 1 on the November ballot, which would strengthen Maine’s clean elections laws.

“On many federal issues, Congress supports the interests of large, multinational corporations over those of local businesses,” said MSBC Director Will Ikard after the meeting. “This is best explained by the millions of dollars that these corporations spend on lobbying and campaign contributions. Small business owners simply can’t compete.”

Attendees cited climate change, trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and business tax incentives as areas where the federal government too often tips the scales towards their large competitors.

During the meeting, Sarbanes described his reform package, H.R. 20, the Government by the People Act, which would amplify the influence of small donors by adding a tax credit for small donations, as well as matching small donations six-to-one. The legislation would give congressional candidates an incentive to seek out small donors to raise the millions necessary to run for office. Maine First Disctrict Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Sarbanes also praised the Maine clean elections law and encouraged business owners to vote “Yes” on  Question 1. MSBC has also endorsed the campaign.

Congressman Sarbanes will be participating in a roundtable discussion hosted by Mainers for Accountable Elections  tonight (Wednesday, September 2nd) in Bar Harbor. The event is free and open to the public. Click here for details and to RSVP.

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