New Report Reveals Wealthy Out-of-State Donors and Washington Insiders Financed and Orchestrated Maine’s 2020 U.S. Senate Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE             

Friday, April 16, 2021

Contact: Gregory Joseph, American Promise, Communications Director

gregoryj@americanpromise.net

646-346-4289

NEW REPORT REVEALS WEALTHY OUT-OF-STATE DONORS AND WASHINGTON INSIDERS FINANCED AND ORCHESTRATED MAINE’S 2020 U.S. SENATE ELECTION

American Promise, a national non-profit organization dedicated to passing a constitutional amendment to end big money’s outsized influence in our elections, and Stand with Maine, an American Promise chapter, have released Under the Avalanche: Maine’s $200 Million Senate Race, an investigative report revealing the levels and sources of big, dark money that flooded into Maine during the U.S. Senate race. In 2020, Maine was among the most expensive campaigns in the nation, and the level of spending uncovered by Under the Avalanche: Maine’s $200 Million Senate Race made the 2020 U.S. Senate race the most expensive in Maine history. 

Key takeaways from the Maine report

Under the Avalanche: Maine’s $200 Million Senate Race shines a light on the $200 million dollars that poured into Maine in the form of misleading, toxic and divisive campaign advertising,” said Jeff Clements, President and CEO of American Promise. “This dark, out-of-state money degrades debate, decreases useful information and smothers the voice of Maine voters. The only permanent solution to this systemic corruption is passing a constitutional amendment to effectively end big money’s influence in our elections.”

Among the key findings Under the Avalanche: Maine’s $200 Million Senate Race revealed was: almost all of the money in the 2020 U.S. Senate race came through Super PACs; that these Super PACs are closely entwined with the national Republican and Democratic Senate leadership and political operatives in Washington, DC; a majority of the money that flowed in the Maine election came from wealthy donors and interests outside of Maine, and; this deluge of outside money funded negative campaign ads, lies and disinformation. 

“In 2020, we faced an election where a few billionaires and powerful activists buoyed by an endless supply of money, overwhelmed the voices of all of us,” said David Trahan, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, and a member of Stand with Maine. “We were 20 feet under snow in an avalanche, and no one could hear us.” 

Under the Avalanche: Maine’s $200 Million Senate Race also uncovers that Maine’s 2020 U.S. Senate race was largely orchestrated and funded by two influential Washington, DC insiders: Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. Collectively, through their associated Super PACs: The Senate Majority PAC and the Senate Leadership Fund, these partisan political operatives spent over $40 million in Maine. Equally disturbing is the fact that both the McConnell and Schumer Super PACs spent over 98% of their Maine funding on attack ads which created a negative campaign landscape featuring personal attacks, distorted voting records, disinformation and outright lies and falsehoods. 

A graphic shows the breakdown of support for a constitutional amendment among Maine voters

“Most of the $200 million in the Maine Senate race came from wealthy Republican and Democratic donors from Chicago, New York, Las Vegas and Palm Beach,” said Ayden Nichols, member of Stand with Maine, and the report’s primary author. “When not one of the big money donors hails from Maine, it’s clear that all this outside money restricted free speech, voter information and choice.” 

Under the Avalanche: Maine’s $200 Million Senate Race also showed that support for a constitutional amendment to end big money in politics is strongly supported by people across Maine. A poll from August 2020 showed that 73% of Mainers support a constitutional amendment to limit political spending, including 55% of Republicans and 87% of Democrats. The poll findings in Maine mirrored national support that also showed 75% of Americans support for a constitutional amendment including 66% of Republicans and 85% of Democrats.

“Maine was among the first states calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to enable Americans to enact reasonable limits to spending in elections,” said Amy Cartmell, a chapter leader for Stand with Maine. “Every Mainer, regardless of political party, can join the thousands of Mainers working together to put Maine first, and end the dominance of outside money in our elections.”

To read the full report, Under the Avalanche: Maine’s $200 Million Senate Race, please visit: https://americanpromise.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Under-the-Avalanche.pdf

For more information on American Promise’s constitutional amendment to end big money in politics, please visit: www.americanpromise.net

To Stand With Maine and learn more about how elections where Mainers are heard and Maine issues addressed, please visit: https://americanpromise.net/stand-with-maine/

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