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Bill seek to limit influence of lobbyists, use of funds

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – A Maine lawmaker is proposing to limit the influence of lobbyists, restrict when former lawmakers can start lobbying and ban the use of political funds for personal profit.

The bills sponsored by Democratic Sen. Justin Chenette are set for public hearings Wednesday and Feb. 6 at the Maine Statehouse.

The Associated Press’s review of state campaign finance reports shows individuals identifying as lobbyists gave at least $ 25,000 to legislative candidates and political action committees run by lawmakers last year. Maine’s biggest lobbying firms gave over $ 47,000.

Advocacy group Maine Citizens for Clean Elections found lawyers and lobbyists gave roughly $ 145,000 to political action committees run by lawmakers in the 2016 cycle.

The group’s executive director Anna Kellar said most political contributions from special interest groups come through legislator-run PACs.

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