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Entries in Corruption (486)

Tuesday
Aug192014

NHDP - ICYMI: Disgraced Former Tea Party Congressman Frank Guinta’s Mystery “Business” Exposed 

New revelations reinforce Guinta’s pattern of ethical lapses and misconduct both in and out of office

MANCHESTER-- Disgraced former Tea Party Congressman Frank Guinta is once again in the spotlight for ethical lapses with new revelations reported by the Union Leader that Guinta’s mystery “business” is made up of top donors and has links to the mystery $355,000 loaned to his 2010 campaign that is still under FEC investigation.

“Disgraced former Tea Party Congressman Frank Guinta's shady business dealings only reinforce his alarming pattern of ethical lapses and misconduct both in and out of office,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Deputy Communications Director Bryan Lesswing. “Like his Tea Party record in Congress, Granite State voters won't let Frank Guinta get away with his record of misconduct that has earned him an FEC investigation and the title of 'Most Corrupt' by a government watchdog group.”

Criticism of Guinta’s shady “business” first came to light in March, when Business & Industry Association President Jim Roche called out the Tea Party and disgraced former Congressman for making false claims about the group that undermined New Hampshire’s actual business community. The recent Union Leader piece uncovers several troubling findings about Guinta's “business,” including:

  • CRONYISM: Guinta’s “business,” the Independent Business Council, “has an advisory board of about 30 business people, around two-thirds of whom have donated to Guinta's congressional campaign”
  • CASHING IN: Guinta refused to answer questions about whether the Independent Business Council charges dues or fees, and “did not work on any specific project” in exchange for compensation from CLD Consulting Engineers
  • MYSTERY MONEY CONNECTION: Guinta used a salary earned from 603 Advisors LLC, a “company run by his former congressional chief of staff,” to repay himself for his mysterious bank account loan, which is still under investigation by the FEC. Guinta continues to evade questions about the FEC investigation by citing a different investigation by the House Ethics Committee

Read the full Union Leader story here: http://www.newhampshire.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140817/NEWS06/140819235/-1/newhampshire1404&template=newhampshire1407

Thursday
Aug142014

NHGOP ASKS AG FOSTER FOR CLARIFICATION ON HASSAN'S MISSING PAC REPORT

Also Asks AG Foster to Officially Recuse Himself from Hassan Campaign Donation Probe

 

Concord - The New Hampshire Republican State Committee today asked Attorney General Joe Foster to issue an official opinion on reporting requirements for political action committees. Governor Maggie Hassan refused to meet a June 18, 2014 PAC report filing deadline with her other registered PAC. As a candidate for governor, Hassan met this requirement when she filed a PAC report on June 20th, 2012 - five days after she filed to run on June 15th 2012.

 

Additionally, the NHGOP asked Foster to formally recuse himself from an ongoing probe into Governor Hassan's illegal campaign donations because of conflicts of interest. Foster served on Hassan's 2012 campaign finance committee and also accepted donations during his state senate campaigns from some of the same unions that made illegal contributions to Hassan.

 

In an interview with New Hampshire Journal yesterday, Foster said he would "probably" recuse himself, but had not made a final decision. 

 

The full letter is below:

 

August 13, 2014

 

Attorney General Joseph Foster

New Hampshire Department of Justice

33 Capitol Street

Concord, NH 03301

 

Dear Attorney General Foster,

 

On behalf of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, I am writing to respectfully request that your office provide an official opinion on the reporting requirements for political PACs. The New Hampshire Journal recently reported that Governor Maggie Hassan's political action committee failed to file a report on June 18, 2014 even though her PAC filed a report at a similar deadline on June 20th 2012. I am also following up on my request from last week that you recuse yourself from the New Hampshire Department of Justice's investigation into potentially illegal contributions made by the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union to Governor Hassan's campaign. 

 

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice ruled that Governor Hassan could keep several donations that exceeded contribution limits because of a loophole that allowed unlimited PAC to PAC transfers before a candidate officially files paperwork to run for office. As you noted, "Friends of Maggie Hassan" was filed as a PAC and was allowed to follow different rules than if it were filed as a candidate committee. This PAC was later converted to "Maggie 14," a candidate committee on June 12, 2014 when the governor filed to run for re-election.

 

However, Governor Hassan failed to file a required close out PAC report on "Friends of Maggie Hassan's" financial activity by the June 18th deadline required for all PACs. PACs tied to elected officials from both parties who filed for re-election and became candidates filed reports on June 18th include "Friends of Jeb Bradley for State Senate," "Bette Lasky for State Senate," "Friends of Maureen Mooney," "Supporters of Molly Kelly," and many more. The Nashua Telegraph also notes that past governors including John Lynch and Craig Benson who had PACs before officially filing for re-election submitted reports by the June deadline. Even Maggie Hassan's first gubernatorial campaign, which was initially a PAC before converting to a candidate committee when she filed on June 15, 2012, submitted a report by the June 20, 2012 deadline.

 

When asked about why Governor Hassan did not submit her required PAC report, Associate Attorney General Richard Head told the New Hampshire Journal that Hassan 'self-designated' her PAC as a political committee tied to her candidacy as a result of a letter changing the name of the committee filed with the Secretary of State on June 12, 2014. However documents filed with the Secretary of State indicate that 'Friends of Maggie Hassan's' chairperson checked a box and paid a $50 fee that "must accompany this registration if it is not a political committee of a candidate," when the committee was formed. This directly contradicts Associate Attorney General Head's explanation that Hassan had determined that 'Friends of Maggie Hassan' was a 'self-designated' political committee of a candidate.

 

Associate Attorney General Head seems to base his opinion on the significance of the comments made in the Hassan campaign's name change letter. But in response to our initial complaint about Hassan's donations, Hassan Campaign attorney Jay Surdukowski made it clear that the name-change letter had no "substantive import" other than the fact that "the campaign simply updated the name of its committee for the current election season."

 

Given this information, the informal opinion that Associate Attorney General Head gave to the New Hampshire Journal doesn't make any sense. If 'Friends of Maggie Hassan' was a PAC that could take unlimited transfers, and by its own admission was 'not a political candidate of a committee," it should have filed a report on June 18, 2014 with every other PAC. Then-candidate Hassan clearly understood this requirement when he filed a PAC report in June of 2012. She also filed PAC reports in June during her previous campaigns for state senate.

 

Given the confusion, I ask that the Department of Justice review this information and provide an official opinion. I would also like to request under RSA 91-A that you provide me with the entire case file from the Department of Justice's investigation of the complaint that we filed on July 16, 2014 regarding Governor Hassan's illegal PAC contributions. Associate Attorney General Head indicates that the issue of PAC reports was discussed over the course of this investigation.

 

Additionally, I would like to check in on the status of the complaint I filed last week on more potentially illegal union PAC donations that Governor Hassan received in 2012 and 2014. As you know, Hassan has already returned $33,000 in illegal contributions.

 

I am specially requesting that you provide me with an official determination on your role in this investigation. I have asked that you recuse yourself from this probe given that you served on then-candidate Hassan's finance committee in 2012 when one of the questionable donations was made. I was encouraged to see that you told the New Hampshire Journal that you would "probably" recuse yourself to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

 

If there is any further doubt that you should recuse yourself, it has come to my attention that during your previous career as a state senator you frequently accepted political donations from Big Labor. This includes contributions from AFL-CIO New Hampshire President Mark Mackenzie (2004) and union PACs including the Granite State Teamsters PAC (2002 and 2004), and the International Union of Painters and Allies Trades PAC (2004). Even more troubling, you also accepted donations from the IBEW Local 490 Cope Fund (2004) and Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 131 PAC (2004) - two PACs that are directly tied to the same unions that are mentioned in our complaint. Clearly, your close political ties to Big Labor present another alarming conflict of interest that should help you make the obvious decision to step aside.

 

I ask that you officially declare that you are recusing yourself from this investigation so that the Department of Justice can expedite our request. With less than 100 days before the election it is critical that this important matter is investigated immediately.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Jennifer Horn

Chairman

New Hampshire Republican State Committee

Tuesday
Aug052014

NHGOP TO HASSAN: RELEASE YOUR CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS IMMEDIATELY 

Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Jennifer Horn sent the following letter to Governor Maggie Hassan asking that she immediately release her campaign finance reports. Last week the New Hampshire Department of Justice found that Hassan had accepted tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions:

 

 

The Honorable Maggie Hassan

Governor of New Hampshire

State House

107 North Main Street

Concord, New Hampshire 03301

 

 

Dear Governor Hassan,

 

On behalf of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee I am writing to request that you immediately release your campaign finance reports. Your campaign has been engulfed by a serious fundraising scandal after the New Hampshire Department of Justice found that you accepted $24,000 in illegal contributions from union PACs. Given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding this scandal, the public should be allowed to inspect your campaign finance activity immediately to ensure that you have not received any other illegal donations.

 

You have argued that during your two runs for governor you have had two different types of committee - a PAC before you officially filed and a candidate committee afterwards. You claim that each committee plays by different rules, creating a loophole that has allowed union bosses with business before state government to shovel unlimited amounts of campaign cash into your bank account.

 

During your first run for governor in 2012, your political action committee (Maggie 12') filed a required report on June 20th, 2012. Five days earlier on June 15, 2012, you filed your candidacy with the Secretary of State and converted your PAC to a candidate committee.

 

But during the current election cycle you have refused to release any information about your fundraising activities. Maggie 14' did not file a required report on June 18, 2014 like every other political action committee. Evidence of your illegal special interest fundraising scheme was only uncovered because of required reports filed by the union PACs that are trying to influence your administration. Your unwillingness to file a PAC report raises serious questions about what your campaign may be trying to hide.

 

Union Bosses and Big Labor PACs, including some that are supporting the controversial Northern Pass project, are trying to buy you off with unlimited campaign contributions. Your campaign has been caught red-handed with tens of thousands of illegal donations that you are being forced to return. And there are concerns that you may have even more illegal money in your account that has yet to be discovered.

 

Given your campaign's troubling pattern of illegal behavior, it's time for you to immediately release your finance reports for public inspection.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jennifer Horn

New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman

Friday
Jul182014

Hemingway For Governor - Governor Hassan "Cooks the Books" to Justify Turkey Trot

State Claimed a 22% Export Increase; report shows increase was .7%

Manchester, NH – A new article in Business NH Magazine has exposed Governor Maggie Hassan and her administration for misrepresenting state export numbers in an effort to boost her irresponsible junket to Turkey last month and boost her leadership statistic. 

“It was an attention-grabbing headline: “NH Export Growth Led Nation in 2013.” That claim was later used by … Gov. Maggie Hassan as proof of the success of the state’s export efforts and to help defend NH’s recent trade mission to Turkey when it came under fire from Hassan’s Republican opponents.”  The Truth Behind NH’s Export Growth, by Erika Cohen, Business NH Magazine.

Governor Hassan and others in her Administration claimed a 22% increase in exports in 2013 over the previous year.  Unfortunately, as the article continues, the report is based on a ridiculous claim.  The number includes the “export” of crude oil. Unfortunately NH neither produces nor refines crude oil so where did the number come from? According to the article:

“That crude oil merely travels on a train through NH from other locations to Canada,”

“Governor Hassan so wanted to travel to Turkey, during a state travel ban she imposed, for reasons we still don’t understand, that her Administration used illusionary math to sell it,” said Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Hemingway.  “This is beyond failed leadership, this is deliberately throwing out false statistics to support her waste of taxpayer funds.  She should be held accountable and she needs to explain why she felt it was OK to cook the statistic books to the very people she is beholden to.”

Thursday
Jun262014

NH GOP - WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT JEANNE SHAHEEN'S FINANCES 

"It is absolutely a concern," "Senator Shaheen sure looks awfully shady," "Shaheen's husband profiting from bill?"

 

Boston Globe: "Shaheen has also had a family financial stake in the research. In 2009, her husband, William, became an adviser to a Southern California startup, Ultrawave labs Inc. ...that same year, Ultrawave received $78,000 in federal stimulus funding." (Noah Bierman and Todd Wallack, Boston Globe, 6/25/14) 

 

"The Shaheens declined multiple requests for interviews and would not answer most detailed questions about their investments and connection to the firm." (Noah Bierman and Todd Wallack, Boston Globe, 6/25/14)

 

"'It absolutely is a concern,' said Charlton Copeland, former chair of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and a professor at the University of Miami. 'It raises questions because so much of the work of this kind of policymaking takes place outside of the specter of the public eye.'" (Noah Bierman and Todd Wallack, Boston Globe, 6/25/14)

 

"'Whenever someone - a member or a spouse - has a significant number of investments, certainly that can increase the potential for a question about a conflict,' said Robert L. Walker, a former chief counsel and staff director of both the Senate and House ethics committees whose law firm, Wiley Rein LLP, predominantly represents Republicans." (Noah Bierman and Todd Wallack, Boston Globe, 6/25/14)

 

Chuck Todd, NBC News: "Feeding the perception that members of Congress use their power to get rich...Shaheen's husband profiting from bill?" (Chuck Todd, Twitter, 6/25/14)

 

David Bernstein, Boston Magazine: "In which Senator Shaheen sure looks awfully shady, courtesy of Noah Bierman and Todd Wallack" (David S. Bernstein, Twitter, 6/25/14)

 

Drew Cline, New Hampshire Union Leader: "Hmmm. Jeanne Shaheen's husband owned stock in breast cancer research firm that got stimulus money Shaheen voted for" (Drew Cline, Twitter, 6/25/14)