Special Interest Union PAC Made $25,000 Donation To Governor's Campaign
Concord - The New Hampshire Republican State Committee today asked Attorney General Joseph Foster to investigate an illegal contribution made by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) PAC to Governor Maggie Hassan's re-election campaign. According to documents filed with the Secretary of State's office, the Washington, DC based IBEW PAC broke the law by making a $25,000 donation to Hassan's candidate committee that dramatically exceeded New Hampshire's contribution limits. State law limits candidates like Governor Hassan who decline to follow an expenditure cap to $7,000 in combined donations for the pre-declaration of candidacy period, the primary election and the general election.
IBEW PAC is a special interest committee that is trying to buy influence in Concord and push elected officials like Governor Hassan to support the controversial Northern Pass project.
"It is troubling and alarming to see that a pro-Northern Pass special interest group funded by union bosses is illegally funneling money into Governor Hassan's re-election campaign. Attorney General Foster needs to immediately investigate Governor Hassan's illegal campaign activity and force her to follow the law," said NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. "Governor Hassan has attempted to play both sides in the ongoing debate over the controversial Northern Pass project. Her decision to accept illegal contributions from a pro-Northern Pass political action committee raises serious questions that she needs to answer."
Below is the full letter that the New Hampshire Republican State Committee sent to the Department of Justice this morning:
Attorney General Joseph Foster
New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street
Concord, NH 03301
Dear Attorney General Joseph Foster,
According to a February, 2012 opinion issued by the New Hampshire Department of Justice (Exhibit B) and currently posted on the NewHampshire Secretary of State's website, state law limits candidate contributions. This opinion mentions that RSA 664:4, V. "establishes contribution limits of up to $1,000 or up to $5,000 depending on whether a candidate voluntarily agrees to the expenditure cap established in RSA: 665:5-a." Relying on this language and prior opinions, the Department of Justice states that limits on contributions can be made during three periods: "(1) any exploratory campaign period (pre-declaration of candidacy); (2) Primary Election; and (3) General Election."
According to this opinion, candidates can accept up to $5,000 in pre-declaration contributions. Candidates who agree to the expenditure cap can accept donations of up to $5,000 in both the primary and the general. Candidates who don't agree to the expenditure cap can accept up to $1,000 in the primary in the general. The opinion clearly states that candidates who agree to the cap can receive a total maximum amount of contributions over all three periods of $15,000 while those who don't agree to the cap are held to a maximum of $7,000 in contributions.
On June 12, 2014 the IBEW PAC broke state law by donating $25,000 to Friends of Maggie Hassan, a candidate committee that supports the reelection of Governor Maggie Hassan. According to filings with the Secretary of State's office and a letter sent by Governor Hassan to Secretary William Gardner (Exhibit C), Friends of Maggie Hassan is a candidate committee that was suspiciously renamed "Maggie 14" the same day that IBEW made the illegal contribution.
"Please accept the attached form as an amendment to my current candidate committee, Friends of Maggie Hassan. The name is changed from 'Friends of Maggie Hassan' to 'Maggie 14,'" wrote Governor Hassan in a June 12, 2014 letter to Secretary Gardner. "'Maggie 14' will continue as my candidate committee."
Governor Hassan also officially filed her paperwork to run for re-election on June 12, 2014.
Since Governor Hassan has not agreed to adhere to the expenditure cap, based on the Department of Justice opinion the maximum amount of contributions the Hassan Campaign can receive over all three periods from the IBEW PAC is $7,000. The IBEW PAC's $25,000 contribution exceeds this limit by $18,000 and is clearly in violation of state law.
Additionally the IBEW PAC's filing raises very serious red flags that must also be investigated. The committee lists total receipts of $143,667.86, yet it fails to list a single itemized receipt. It is a mystery where this money came from.
Furthermore, the IBEW PAC filed its registration with the Secretary of State's office on June 17, 2014 (Exhibit D). Yet the committee's report indicates the illegal donation to Governor Hassan's committee was made on June 12, 2014 - five days before it filed its registration form and the same day that Governor Hassan officially became a candidate.
Clearly, Governor Hassan's committee and the IBEW PAC have deliberately exceeded New Hampshire's campaign contribution limits. The IBEW has also failed to follow the law by refusing to disclose its itemized receipts. In order to ensure public confidence in state government, I ask that you investigate these important matters immediately.
New Hampshire Republican State Committee