MCEA: Maine Taxpayers Spent Big Money On Lawn Signs, Political Mail

Money

Through the Maine Clean Elections system, Maine taxpayers spent over $3 million in a variety of categories on political campaigns in the 2016 election cycle.

This is the first of a three part series exploring the use of taxpayer funding through the Maine Clean Elections System in the 2016 election cycle.

A Maine Examiner analysis of Maine Clean Elections spending by taxpayer funded candidates for the Maine Legislature shows spending habits by candidates lean heavily toward two types of expenditures Maine voters regularly express disdain for – political mailings and lawn signs.

Of the more than $3.2 million spent by taxpayer funded candidates for the Maine Legislature, more than 68% of the funds were spent in categories for political mailings and printing of lawn signs, t-shirts and literature.

Candidates for the Maine House spent $414,000 on “Mail House” services; $96,000 on postage and post office box fees and $544,000 on “Printing and graphics flyers, signs, palmcards, t-shirts, etc.”

Candidates for the Maine Senate spent $654,000 on “Mail House” services; $153,000 on “postage and post office box fees” and just under $1 million on “Printing and graphics flyers, signs, palmcards, t-shirts, etc.”

Total spending in these three categories reached a staggering $2.2 million in the 2016 campaign, dwarfing other categories of spending, such as website design and hosting ($93k), print media advertising ($219K), radio ads ($157k) and television ads ($177k).

Taxpayer funding of political campaigns is often supported by more liberal voters because they feel it is better for taxpayers to fund campaigns than private donors, while more conservative voters often deride the program as ‘welfare for politicians’, saying they should raise their own campaign funds and that the funds spent on campaigns should go to other, more worthy programs.

ALL TAXPAYER FUNDED MCEA MAINE SENATE CANDIDATE EXPENDITURE CATEGORIES

CATEGORY (SENATE MCEA EXPENDITURES)

AMOUNT

CAMPAIGN CONSULTANTS

$26,842

CAMPAIGN WORKER’S SALARIES AND PERSONNEL COSTS

$38,272

CONTRIBUTION TO OTHER CANDIDATE, PARTY, COMMITTEE

$0

DEBT PAYMENT

$17,300

EQUIPMENT (OFFICE MACHINES, FURNITURE, CELL PHONES, ETC.)

$3,758

FOOD FOR CAMPAIGN EVENTS, VOLUNTEERS

$10,448

FUNDRAISING EVENTS

$523

MAIL HOUSE (ALL SERVICES PURCHASED)

$654,331

OFFICE SUPPLIES, PHONE AND INTERNET SERVICES, RENT AND UTILITIES

$13,127

OTHER (BANK FEES, ENTRANCE FEES, SMALL TOOLS, WOOD, ETC.)

$31,472

OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

$30,340

PHONE BANKS, AUTOMATED TELEPHONE CALLS

$4,590

POLLING AND SURVEY RESEARCH

$7,242

POSTAGE FOR U.S. MAIL AND MAIL BOX FEES

$56,855

PRINT MEDIA ADS ONLY (NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, ETC.)

$124,377

PRINTING AND GRAPHICS (FLYERS, SIGNS, PALMCARDS, T-SHIRTS, ETC.)

$450,119

RADIO ADS, PRODUCTION COSTS

$127,392

TRAVEL (FUEL, MILEAGE, LODGING, ETC.)

$29,639

TV OR CABLE ADS, PRODUCTION COSTS

$149,554

WEBSITE DESIGN, REGISTRATION, HOSTING, MAINTENANCE, ETC.

$71,758

TOTAL

$1,847,940

ALL TAXPAYER FUNDED MCEA MAINE HOUSE CANDIDATE EXPENDITURE CATEGORIES

CATEGORY (HOUSE MCEA EXPENDITURES)

AMOUNT

CAMPAIGN CONSULTANTS

$16,353

CAMPAIGN WORKER’S SALARIES AND PERSONNEL COSTS

$6,073

CONTRIBUTION TO OTHER CANDIDATE, PARTY, COMMITTEE

$129

DEBT PAYMENT

$11,458

EQUIPMENT (OFFICE MACHINES, FURNITURE, CELL PHONES, ETC.)

$6,690

FOOD FOR CAMPAIGN EVENTS, VOLUNTEERS

$13,477

FUNDRAISING EVENTS

$412

MAIL HOUSE (ALL SERVICES PURCHASED)

$413,996

OFFICE SUPPLIES, PHONE AND INTERNET SERVICES, RENT AND UTILITIES

$27,571

OTHER (BANK FEES, ENTRANCE FEES, SMALL TOOLS, WOOD, ETC.)

$24,072

OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

$18,341

PHONE BANKS, AUTOMATED TELEPHONE CALLS

$1,300

POLLING AND SURVEY RESEARCH

$28

POSTAGE FOR U.S. MAIL AND MAIL BOX FEES

$95,714

PRINT MEDIA ADS ONLY (NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, ETC.)

$94,170

PRINTING AND GRAPHICS (FLYERS, SIGNS, PALMCARDS, T-SHIRTS, ETC.)

$543,902

RADIO ADS, PRODUCTION COSTS

$29,518

TRAVEL (FUEL, MILEAGE, LODGING, ETC.)

$28,084

TV OR CABLE ADS, PRODUCTION COSTS

$27,777

WEBSITE DESIGN, REGISTRATION, HOSTING, MAINTENANCE, ETC.

$21,671

TOTAL

$1,380,746

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