Hassan runs first ad as GOP claims more irregularities
CONCORD — Gov. Maggie Hassan’s campaign portrays her as a bipartisan problem-solver in its first television ad, while the state Republican Party continues to try to paint her campaign as teeming with financial irregularities.
The state GOP claims a 2012 $25,000 contribution from the “Plumbers and Steamfitters Local” on the day she filed her candidacy is similar to a $25,000 contribution from the IBEW PAC this year that Attorney General Joseph Foster ruled was illegal, because it was received the day after she officially filed to run for re-election.
Foster said the campaign had to return $24,000 of the contribution because it exceeds the $1,000 limit for candidates who refuse to abide by the state’s voluntary spending limit.
Hassan campaign spokesman Aaron Jacobs said the IBEW money was returned Monday.
In his ruling last week, Foster said several other large contributions from union political action committees were legal because they were accepted before Hassan officially filed for reelection.
The ruling allows unlimited PAC to PAC contributions as has been the case since the Citizen United ruling by the US Supreme Court. But once a candidate officially files for office, then limits apply, which are $1,000 per election for candidates who do not abide by the voluntary limit and $5,000 per election for those who do.
Jacobs said the plumbers and steamfitter’s 2012 contribution was both issued and physically delivered to the campaign the day of her filing, which follows guidance from the attorney general’s office.
But GOP state chairwoman Jennifer Horn contends that contribution and several others from union political action committees are illegal, because the committees did not register with the Secretary of State’s office within 24 hours of the making the contributions.
She says in Wednesday’s letter to Foster that the plumbers and steamfitters did not register with the secretary of state until August 2012 and the contribution never appeared in any of the PAC’s financial reports.
“Either the Hassan Campaign or the Local Union 131 Volunteer PAC (plumbers and steamfitters) filed a false document given the discrepancy regarding the $25,000 donation,” Horn wrote. “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.”
Horn also asked Foster to recuse himself from the investigation, noting he served on Hassan’s finance committee for the 2012 election.
Hassan and Foster served together in the state Senate.
Jacobs said the Republicans are trying to distract voters from the governor’s accomplishments.“It’s clear from the New Hampshire Republican Party’s desperate attacks, that they’re trying to distract from the fact that their candidates are simply rehashing the same disastrous Bill O’Brien/Koch Brothers agenda that voters rejected in 2012,” Jacobs said. “Granite Staters support Gov. Hassan because she’s moving the state in the right direction and getting things done for New Hampshire’s people, businesses and economy.”
The campaign’s television ad which began appearing on WMUR-TV and cable on Wednesday is relatively small — $40,000 — for the first week. The campaign declined to disclose any additional information about the ad buy.
During the ad, Hassan appears in the governor’s office in the State House and touts her “bipartisan” accomplishments achieved by “bringing people together.”
Among the accomplishments she cites are a bipartisan balanced budget without a sales or income tax, freezing tuition at state colleges and universities, expanding health coverage, improving mental health services and establishing a plan to fix the state’s roads and bridges.
“For me, reaching out across party lines to get results is just common sense, and that keeps New Hampshire working for all of us,” Hassan says in the ad.
Hassan has no significant opposition in the Democratic primary. Walt Havenstein and Andrew Hemingway are facing off in the Sept. 9 Republican primary.