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Entries in NH GOP (756)

Saturday
Aug092014

NHGOP REQUESTS INFORMATION ON HASSAN'S CORNER OFFICE CAMPAIGN AD SHOOT  

Governor's Decision To Use State House Office In Political Ad Raises Ethical Questions

 

Concord - The New Hampshire Republican State Committee today filed a Right-To-Know request regarding Governor Maggie Hassan's corner office campaign ad shoot.

 

This week, Hassan released her first ad for her re-election campaign. The entire ad was shot in Hassan's taxpayer-funded, State House office in Concord. State law prohibits public employees from using government property for "electioneering."

 

The full request is below:

 

The Honorable Maggie Hassan

Governor of New Hampshire

State House

107 North Main Street

Concord, New Hampshire03301

 

Dear Governor Hassan,

 

This is a request under the New Hampshire Right To Know Law (RSA 91-A.)

 

On behalf of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee I am writing to formally request that you provide me with all records from your office regarding your recent political ad shoot in your State House office. This request includes, but is not limited to schedule information to determine when the ad was shot, documentation regarding any state employees who may have worked on this shoot and any emails or communications from your staff about this political ad.

 

Under New Hampshire law (RSA 659:44-A) public employees are prohibited from electioneering "while in the performance of his or her official duties or use government property, including, but not limited to, telephones, facsimile machines, vehicles, and computers, for electioneering." Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor crime. Participating in the production of a partisan political ad in the governor's office would certainly fit the definition of "electioneering."

 

Your ethically questionable decision to use the sacred confines of the corner office as a political prop in your first partisan campaign is extremely troubling. It also raises questions about what other types of political activities you are conducting in the governor's State House suite.  

 

If members of your taxpayer-funded staff helped set up this ad shoot, it would be a violation of state law. It's likely that your official staff had a hand in the production of this ad given that many of your former campaign aids hold patronage positions in the governor's office. This includes your 2012 campaign consultant Pamela Walsh, who now draws a publicly funded paycheck as your chief of staff.

 

The use of official offices in political ads has generated significant controversy and serious ethical questions in recent years. Congressional ethics rules forbid the use of federal office space for political and campaign activity, meaning that congressmen and senators are barred from shooting campaign ads in their district offices or in the United States Capitol.

 

In 2012, President Obama was sharply criticized by government watchdog groups for using the West Wing of the White House in a series of campaign ads. ABC News reported at the time that Meredith McGehee, policy director of the Campaign Legal Center, said it "an unwise politicization of the highest office in the land."

 

"I find it a bit disturbing that he would do it in the West Wing office," McGehee said. "Filming in a West Wing office - it may not be precedent-setting but that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do."

 

Granite Staters expecttheir governor to use his or her time in the corner office to do the people's business, not political businesses. You decision to shoot a partisan campaign ad in your official office adds to the ethical concerns that havealready been generated by your illegal fundraising scandal. Accepting tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions and deciding to blur the line between your official duties and campaign activities raises serious questions about your integrity.

 

Pursuant to the guiding statutes, please respond to this request within five (5) days of receipt. If you deny any part of this request, or this entire request, please cite eachspecific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of appeal procedures available to me under the law.

 

Thank your for your attention to this important matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jennifer Horn

Chairman

New Hampshire Republican State Committee

Friday
Aug082014

NHGOP STATEMENT ON HASSAN RETURNING MORE ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN DONATIONS 

Hassan Has Now Returned $33,000 in Illegal Contributions Since Scandal Broke  

 

Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn today released the following statement on Governor Maggie Hassan returning $9,000 in illegal campaign donations from the Plumbers and Steamfitters PAC. This comes after Attorney General Joe Foster forced Hassan to return $24,000 in contributions from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC last week. 

 

"Governor Hassan has engaged in a troubling pattern of illegal behavior that has damaged her credibility and raised serious ethical questions about her administration. Once again she has been caught red-handed taking thousands of dollars in illegal contributions and putting the concerns of the special interests that are funding her campaign ahead of New Hampshire's interests. 

 

"The dark ethical cloud hanging over the Hassan Administration has undermined public confidence in state government and called Governor Hassan's integrity into question. It's time for the governor to come clean by disclosing any further illegal donations she may have received and immediately releasing her campaign finance reports.

 

"New Hampshire deserves a governor who isn't bought and sold by big unions who are trying to push their job killing agenda and impose the controversial Northern Pass project on the North Country. It's time to replace Governor Hassan with a responsible Republican who will put New Hampshire first."  

Thursday
Aug072014

NH GOP - WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT HASSAN'S ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN CASH SCANDAL 

Weeks of Bad News for Maggie Hassan in Wake of Campaign Finance Scandal


 

Nashua Telegraph: "Disturbing...that unions thought there was something to be gained from making the contribution" "As troublesome as it is that Hassan accepted the $25,000 check in violation of campaign law, there's something even more disturbing: The idea that the unions thought there was something to begained from making the contribution at all." (Editorial, "NH donations blur distinctions," Nashua Telegraph, 8/5/2014)


 

Telegraph: "Some in the North Country believe the electrical workers were attempting to sway the governor's position on the Northern Pass transmission lines, a controversial proposal that would run through the state and carry power from Canada to Connecticut. Thus far, Hassan has said most of the line should be buried, but $25,000 is an amount that could, conceivably, change a politician's mind, even if she only got to keep $1,000 of it." (Editorial, "NH donations blur distinctions," Nashua Telegraph, 8/5/2014)

 

Telegraph: "It's fair to ask whether, having shown a willingness to take the big bucks from unions (or corporations), the governor or any politician of either party is in a position to say no when the donor calls and asks for support on a certain issue.  It's a safe bet they're at least going to take the call." (Editorial, "NH donations blur distinctions," Nashua Telegraph, 8/5/2014) 


 

New Hampshire Union Leader: "The people...deserve an explanation" "The AG's office needs to explain why Hassan can keep illegal donations and why the PACs were allowed to get away with making them. The people (and other campaigns) deserve an explanation so they know which illegal donations this attorney general will allow candidates to keep, which must be returned, and which will draw no punishment." (Editorial, "Dirty money? Hassan keeps felony donations," New Hampshire Union Leader 8/5/2014)


 

Union Leader: "None of the three union PACs was registered legally under state law when it donated to Hassan's campaign. Each one happened to donate to Hassan on the same day despite not being legally registered, then happened to remember to registerdays later. Though state law requires PACs to register with the state before spending $500 or more, Foster did not order all of the donations returned. Why not?" (Editorial, "Dirty money? Hassan keeps felony donations," New Hampshire Union Leader 8/5/2014)

 

Union Leader: "Foster himself determined on Friday that Gov. Hassan was the recipient of three union PAC donations made in violation of the law. He let her keep two and part of a third. As for the PACs, he sent them "cease and desist" letters, which merely declare "Don't do it again until you're legal," Rice said. But the PACs were already legal when the letters were sent, so there was no penalty for violating a state law that classifies any violation as a felony. (Editorial, "Dirty money? Hassan keeps felony donations," New Hampshire Union Leader 8/5/2014)


 

Concord Monitor: "A threat against the very nature of democracy" "The idea that an elected official can be bought and sold in America amounts to a threat against the very nature of democracy. That is where the anxiety of the electorate resides when it comes to political fundraising." (Editorial, "The Problems of Money and Perception," Concord Monitor 7/23/2014)


 

Monitor: "When legal clarity regarding fund-raising is absent, however, the way a candidate or official interprets the law becomes important to voters. That is the slippery slope upon which Gov. Maggie Hassan finds herself..." (Editorial, "The Problemsof Money and Perception," Concord Monitor 7/23/2014)

 

Monitor: "Hassan has a perception problem on her hands. A campaign's broad interpretation of campaign finance laws is akin to a child hearing only what he or she wants to hear, and the political damage can be significant." (Editorial, "The Problems of Money and Perception," Concord Monitor 7/23/2014)

 

Monitor: "[I]t's possible that concerns about influence could enter the picture, and suddenly $25,000 has bought the campaign nothing but legal problems, anxiety for supporters and fuel for opponents who can spin the Hassan campaign's interpretation of law into something much more sinister." (Editorial, "The Problems of Money and Perception," Concord Monitor 7/23/2014)

Thursday
Aug072014

NHGOP FILES NH DOJ COMPLAINT ON MORE QUESTIONABLE HASSAN DONATIONS 

Asks Attorney General Foster To Recuse Himself Due To Conflict Of Interest

 

Concord - The New Hampshire Republican State Committee today asked the New Hampshire Department of Justice to investigate more questionable donations made to Governor Maggie Hassan's political committees. The complaint focuses on a 2012 $25,000 donation and a 2014 $10,000 contribution made by the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union PAC.

 

The NHGOP also asked Attorney General Joe Foster to recuse himself from this investigation given that he served on then-candidate Maggie Hassan's 2012 campaign finance committee and may have been involved with the questionable 2012 donation.

 

Last week the Department of Justice found that Hassan had accepted tens of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions from three Big Labor PACs that also broke the law.

 

The NHGOP's full complaint is below:

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 today to respectfully request that you investigate another questionable contribution made to one of Governor Maggie Hassan's political committees.

 

In 2012, then-gubernatorial candidate Hassan filed a finance report with the Secretary of State on June 20th of that year reporting the receipts and expenditures of her political action committee Maggie 12'. Five days earlier on June 15, 2012, Hassan converted this PAC to a candidate committee when she officially filed her candidacy.

 

In this report (Exhibit A), Hassan lists a donation of $25,000 made on June 15, 2012 (the day Hassan filed) from "Plumbers and Steamfitters Local" of 161 Londonderry Turnpike in Hooksett. This donation resembles the illegal $25,000 contribution made by the IBEW PAC to Governor Hassan's re-election campaign on the day she filed for office in 2014. Your ruling last week determined that this contribution exceeded legal limits and $24,000 of it had to be returned.

 

Upon reviewing the filings of political action committees from the 2012 cycle, there is no registration for a PAC called "Plumbers and Steamfitters Local". However, a committee called "Local Union 131 Volunteer PAC" was registered that cycle at the same address (161 Londonderry Turnpike, Hooksett) that was mentioned on Hassan's report (Exhibit B). The website http://www.ualu131.org  and media reports also confirm that UA Local 131 in Hooksett is also known and Plumbers and Steamfitters Union 131.

 

A Hassan press release indicates that the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 131 Union endorsed her campaign on July 12, 2012 (Exhibit C). In the press release David Pelletier, business manager for the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 131, praised Hassan. Mr. Pelletier is also listed as the chairperson of the Local Union 131 Volunteer PAC in documents filed with the Secretary of State.

 

However the filing for the Local Union 131 Volunteer PAC indicates that it was not created until August 2, 2012 - nearly two months after this PAC allegedly gave candidate Hassan $25,000. Even more troubling, there is no mention of this $25,000 donation on any of the Local Union 131 Volunteer PAC finance reports filed with the Secretary of State during the 2012 cycle (Exhibit D). The PAC filed reports on August 22, 2012, October 17, 2012 and November 14, 2012. The contribution simply doesn't exist on any of these reports.

 

Either the Hassan Campaign or the Local Union 131 Volunteer PAC filed a false document given the discrepancy regarding the $25,000 donation. If in fact the Local Union 131 Volunteer PAC did make the June 15th donation, they would have broken the law by waiting until August to file. Additionally, given the questionable nature of this donation, there are questions as to whether the Hassan Campaign received this check before or after she officially became a candidate.

 

It should also be noted that the Local Union 131 PAC subsequently refilled for the 2014 cycle and made a $10,000 contribution to the Governor's re-election campaign on June 12, 2014 (the day she filed.)

 

As the Nashua Telegraph said in an editorial dated August 5th, "As troublesome as it is that Hassan accepted the $25,000 check in violation of campaign law, there's something even more disturbing: The idea that the unions thought there was something to be gained from making the contribution at all." Given Governor Hassan's history of accepting illegal contributions, and the concern for, and potential of, undue influence stemming from such illegal contributions, we ask that the Department of Justice review both the 2012 $25,000 donation and the 2014 $10,000 donation to ensure that they are legal.

 

Additionally, I am asking you to recuse yourself from any involvement in this investigation. As you know, in 2012 you served on then-candidate Hassan's finance committee and helped her raise money during the time of the questionable contribution at issue. Given this connection to the 2012 donation, and your involvement in developing and guiding then-candidate Hassan's fundraising strategies and outreach, it would be best if you stepped aside in this matter in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, and to ensure the continued confidence of New Hampshire residents. 

 

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

 

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