NH GOP - Statement on Voter File Sale Court Case

CONCORD – New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen releases the following statement on the voter file sale court case ruling:

“This was a Democratic fundraising scheme from day one. The law allowing the state Democratic party to profit nearly $400,000from selling the state voter file has written by Democratic state senator Peter Burling, passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature, and signed by Democrat Gov. John Lynch at the same time the state Democratic party was negotiating the sale of the list to Presidential candidates, private list brokers, and even to Representatives Shea-Porter and Hodes, who used taxpayer dollars to buy it.”

“I understand why the judge ruled the fundraising scheme was outside of the scope of the case presented to her. The case was initially presented as being about equal access to the voter file. The public and the court didn’t learn about the fundraising scheme until after the initial case was filed. The New Hampshire Republican Party does not rule out asking the state Attorney General, or a court, to review whether the New Hampshire Democratic Party violated state law in reselling the voter list.”

“The value of the list came from having the Secretary of State certify that it was the best and most up-to-date voter list available. Otherwise, the New Hampshire Democrats could have just sold the file they assembled on their own. But that list wouldn’t have had the same value.”

FACTS:

While Senator Burling was shepherding the bill through the legislature, the New Hampshire Democratic Party was negotiating with Democratic presidential campaigns to buy the list from them for $65,000 each. Five presidential campaigns purchased the list – several of them doing so before the legislation had been passed – and others may do so:

  • On February 7, 2007, The Obama Exploratory Committee Paid $65,000 To The Democratic Party For “Voter File Access.” The Obama Exploratory Committee made an additional payment of $5,000 to the Democratic Party for voter file access on April 3, 2007. (Federal Election Commission, www.fec.gov , Accessed December 6, 2007)
  • On March 27, 2007, The Hillary Clinton For President Exploratory Committee Paid $65,000 To The Democratic Party For Access To The Voter File. (Federal Election Commission, www.fec.gov , Accessed December 6, 2007)
  • On April 13, 2007, John Edwards For President Made A Payment Of $65,000 And A Payment Of $5,000 To The Democratic Party For Voter File Access. (Federal Election Commission, www.fec.gov , Accessed December 6, 2007)
  • On May 18, 2007, Chris Dodd For President Paid $5,000 To The State Democratic Party For Voter File Access. The New Hampshire Democrats have stated that Dodd’s campaign purchased the list, so presumably another payment of $65,000 has been made but not yet reported. (Federal Election Commission, www.fec.gov , Accessed December 6, 2007; “Judge Strikes Down Voter Information Law,” Associated Press, November 29, 2007)
  • On July 3, 2007, Richardson For President Paid $65,000 To The Democratic Party For Voter File Access. (Federal Election Commission, www.fec.gov , Accessed December 6, 2007)

According To Their Spokeswoman, The New Hampshire Democratic State Committee “Makes A Profit” Off Of The Sale Of Their Voter File. “[Pia] Carusone said the party has had a database for years which it enhances and checks for updates against other data-bases, such as a national database for changes of address. The new information will simply update and add to that list, she said. She said the party makes a profit, but could not say how much since work updating the list is ongoing.” (Norma Love, “N.H. Dems Can Use New Voter Information For List Sold To Presidential Candidates,” Associated Press, August 14, 2007)

THE NEW HAMPSHIRE DEMOCRATS ALSO SOLD THE VOTER LIST TO COMMERCIAL LIST VENDORS

According to the law,

“No party shall use or permit the use of voter information provided by the secretary of state under paragraph I for commercial purposes as defined in RSA 654:31, I(b). Whoever knowingly violates any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if a natural person or guilty of a felony if any other person.” (RSA 654:31, II)

“‘Commercial purposes’ means knowingly using, selling, giving, or receiving the checklist information for the purpose of selling or offering for sale any property or service unrelated to an election or political campaign.” (RSA 654:31, I)

The New Hampshire Democratic Party sold the list or access to the list to the companies below:

On January 19, 2007 Catalist Paid $25,000 To The NH Democratic Party For The “Sale” Of Their Voter File. On January 25, 2007 Catalist Paid Another $25,000 To The NH Democratic Party For The “Sale” Of Their Voter File. (Federal Election Commission, www.fec.gov , Accessed December 6, 2007)

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On June26, 2007 Smith Edwards Dunlap Company Paid The New Hampshire Democratic State Committee$5,000 For Voter File Access. (Federal Election Commission, www.fec.gov ,Accessed December 6, 2007)

  • New Hampshire Democratic State Committee’s Memo For The Smith Edwards Dunlap Explicitly Stated That Their Payment Was For Access To The Voter File. “The payment on Schedule A supporting Line 17 from the Smith-Edwards-Dunlap Company was made for access to the voter file maintained by the New Hampshire Democratic State Committee. The fee charged for access to the voter file did not exceed the usual and normal charge or the ordinary market price at the time of the contribution. The fee that the Smith-Edwards-Dunlap Company was charged for the voter file was pro-rated based on the costs incurred by the State Committee in creating and maintaining the file and was also based on the amount of information that the Smith-Edwards-Dunlap Company was allowed to access on the file.” (Federal Election Commission, www.fec.gov , Accessed December 6, 2007)
  • Smith Edwards Dunlap Bills Itself As “Philadelphia’s Leading Commercial Printing Company.” (Smith-Edwards-Dunlap Company, www.sed.com/about-us.html , Accessed December 6, 2007)

On September 21, 2007, Astro Research Inc. Paid $4,557.49 To The New Hampshire Democratic Party For Voter File Access. (Federal Election Commission, www.fec.gov , Accessed December 7, 2007)

  • Astro Research Inc. Is A Commercial Physical Research Company. (Astro Research Inc, Nexis Company Profile, Accessed December 7, 2007)

Fergus Cullen

Chairman, New Hampshire Republican Party

10 Water Street

Concord , NH 03301