MHPC Sues Maine Municipal Association Over Improper Electioneering Expenditures – Documents Available
Today the Center for Constitutional Government filed suit on behalf of four plaintiffs against the Maine Municipal Association over its improper interference with five citizens’ initiatives during the period 2003-2009. The MMA contributed nearly $2 million in cash and in-kind contributions to four political action committees dedicated to supporting or opposing LD1 (2004), the Palesky Initiative (2004), TABOR I (2006), TABOR II (2009) and the Car Tax Initiative (2009).
According to long-standing law, MMA’s contributions to and participation in the PACs and campaigns would be ruled improper governmental electioneering that violates voters’ civil rights. Under Maine law, MMA is a legal “instrumentality” of Maine’s municipalities and enjoys federal and state tax exemptions as a governmental entity. As a public entity, MMA is also subject to Maine’s Freedom of Access Act.
MMA can afford these remarkable expenditures because it is a wealthy organization, taking in millions of dollars each year in dues and administrative fees charged to its various insurance trusts. In 2008, for instance, MMA took in over $10 million dollars – of which over $8 million came from its insurance business. All such political expenditures were authorized by MMA’s Executive Committee, which is composed of municipal officers and officials.
MHPC’s complaint against the MMA is here. For further study, I’ve also linked below both to pertinent legal authority and to various MMA documents obtained through Freedom of Access Act requests. Most of the MMA documents are searchable.
Campaign for Sensible Transportation v. Maine Turnpike Authority (Maine Superior Court 1991)
Maine Attorney General Opinion 04-5
MMA Executive Committee Minutes separately for years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009
MMA Financial Statements 2000-2009 (“bookmarked” by year for easy navigation)
MMA Municipal Dues Paid 2008-2009
Disbursements from MMA’s Legislative Initiatives Fund 2000-2009
Maine Municipal Association Sued For Interference In Citizen’s Initiatives | The Rumford Meteor
Posted on Jun 03, 2010
[...] The MMA has opposed a handful of ballot initiatives that would have lowered taxes. A copy of the complaint is linked in the article here. [...]
Posted on Jun 03, 2010
Great work MHPC. It is great to see someone holding the MMA accountable for the millions of taxpayers dollars spent on political activity. Keep up the great work.