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Entries in NH GOP (765)

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

Thursday
Aug142014

NHGOP LAUNCHES ROBOCALLS ON GOVERNOR HASSAN'S ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION SCANDAL 

Concord - Today, the New Hampshire Republican State Committee launched robocalls regarding Governor Hassan's illegal campaign contributions from Big Labor PACs. 


 

"Governor Hassan's illegal campaign donation scheme has raised serious questions and cast a dark ethical could over her administration. New Hampshire deserves a governor who serves the people's interests instead of the Big Labor PACs that have funneled tens of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions into her account," said NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. "It's time to replace Maggie Hassan with a responsible Republican governor who isn't beholden to the special interests that are trying to buy influence in Concord.


 

The transcript of the robocall is below:


 

"Hi, this is Sue.  New Hampshire papers are reporting that Governor Hassan accepted tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions from big unions, creating the appearance of improper influence. The Nashua Telegraph called this "disturbing" and I agree.  Governor Hassan's own handpicked attorney general forced her to return these illegal contributions. New Hampshire families deserve honesty. Call Governor Hassan at 271-2121 to say New Hampshire is not for sale! Paid for by the New Hampshire Republican State Committee. Robert Scott, Treasurer."

Wednesday
Aug132014

NHGOP DENOUNCES SHAHEEN SUPPORT FOR FRINGE GROUP ATTACKING ISRAEL

Organization That Accuses Israel of "Fanning Growing Flames Of Anti-Semitism" Raising Money For Shaheen

 

Concord - The New Hampshire Republican State Committee today called on Senator Jeanne Shaheen to sever her ties with J Street, a radical fringe group that is funding her campaign. The Washington Free Beacon reported on Friday that liberal advocacy group J Street accused Israel of "fanning growing flames of anti-Semitism" for defending its citizens against terrorist attacks.

 

"Radical organizations like J Street are determined to attack Israel and undermine Israel's right to defend itself from terrorist attacks. It is disgraceful that Senator Jeanne Shaheen would associate herself with a fringe group like J Street and support their shameful advocacy efforts," said NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. "As a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Shaheen needs to immediately denounce J Street's shameful statements and return the contributions that it has funneled into her campaign bank account." 

 

According to Opensecrets.org, J Street has funneled $4,300 to Senator Shaheen's re-election campaign. Shaheen has also accepted the endorsement of J Street's PAC and is currently listed as the "featured candidate" on their website.

 

BACKGROUND:

 

J Street Founder Daniel Levy Called Israel's Creation "An Act That Was Wrong" (Weekly Standard, 10/6/2010)

 

Levy Also Said At JStreet's Annual Meeting That "Israel Really Ain't A Good Idea" (Weekly Standard, 3/15/2011)

 

J Street Lied About Being Funded By Liberal Billionaire George Soros, But Was Later Exposed. Soros Donated $750,000 to J Street: (Weekly Standard, 9/24/2010)

 

J Street Facilitated Meeting With Members Of Congress And The Author Of A United Nations Report That Accused Israel Of War Crimes: (Washington Times, 9/29/2010)

Wednesday
Aug132014

NHGOP STATEMENT ON AG FOSTER "PROBABLY" RECUSING HIMSELF FROM HASSAN PROBE

Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn released the following statement on Attorney General Joe Foster's comments on the latest probe of Governor Hassan's campaign donations. In an interview with New Hampshire Journal, Foster said he would "probably" recuse himself from the review because he served on then-candidate Hassan's campaign finance committee in 2012.

 

"Governor Hassan's illegal campaign donation scheme has raised serious questions and cast a dark ethical could over her administration. As a member of then-candidate Hassan's 2012 campaign finance committee, Attorney General Foster has a clear conflict of interest that could taint the latest probe of the governor's donations. We are pleased that the Attorney General recognizes this problem and is leaning towards recusing himself from the investigation. We hope he will quickly formalize his decision so that the New Hampshire Department of Justice can expedite its review of the tens of thousands of dollars that labor unions have funneled into Governor Hassan's bank account."

 

The New Hampshire Republican State Committee filed a complaint with the New Hampshire Department of Justice regarding potentially illegal contributions made by the Plumbers and Steamfitters PAC. Hassan has already returned $33,000 in illegal campaign contributions.

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