July 16. 2013 2:36PM

NH AG quietly dropped probe of conservative activist James O'Keefe after election

Senior Political Reporter

CONCORD -- Now that the Attorney General's Office has ended its investigation of him for potential voter fraud, conservative author/activist James O'Keefe will visit New Hampshire next week to promote his new book.

O'Keefe''s advocacy group, "Project Veritas," attempting to show that the state had weak voter identification laws, sent supporters into voting places during the 2012 presidential primary, giving the names of dead Granite Staters and receiving ballots.

When a web video of the incidents went public shortly after the primary, controversy erupted.

It was a factor in the then-Republican-led state Legislature beefing up the state's voter ID law last year. The debate on the issue continued during the recently concluded legislative session with several additional changes to the law.

The Attorney General's office probed whether O'Keefe and his associates violated any state voter laws by sending people to voting places giving the names of dead people to ballot officials.

But Associate Attorney General Richard Head said Tuesday that earlier this year, the investigation was dropped.

"We ultimately reached the conclusion not to pursue any action relative to the incidents where ballots were requested in the names of deceased individuals," said Head.

Head said the question was "whether this fell within the statutory prohibition against receiving ballots that were not your own name."

He said that after probing the matter, "It appeared based upon the video tape evidence, that the individuals participating were walking a very fine line between violating and not violating the statute.

"And there was simply insufficient evidence to conclude that there was knowing violations of the statute," Head said.

While under investigation in the spring of 2012, O'Keefe declined to visit the state, and instead addressed a Republican event by Skype.

Now, with the investigation finished, O'Keefe will visit the state on July 25 for a book-signing promoting his book "Breakthrough: Our Guerilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy," which is a New York Times best-seller.

The $50-a-person event ($25 for New Hampshire Young Republicans), to be held at the Raddisson Hotel in downtown Manchester, will be a fund-raiser for the New Hampshire House Republican Victory PAC, which supports conservative House lawmakers.