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Democrats call for FBI probe of state liquor stores

By Dave Solomon
State House Bureau

February 20. 2018 8:42PM
Executive Counselor Andru Volinsky (with hat) and Richard Gulla, president of the N.H. State Employees Association, are seen on Feb. 3, 2018, in surveillance footage strolling the stockroom of a Keene liquor store. 



CONCORD — The N.H. Democratic Party is challenging the ability of the state attorney general to conduct an impartial investigation into large cash transactions for bulk purchases of alcohol at state liquor stores, and wants the FBI to step in.

Democratic Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky in a letter sent on Feb. 13 to Gov. Chris Sununu and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald claims that NHLC management is enabling the transactions, which he described as a form of money laundering.

Volinsky claims to have observed some of the transactions himself, while visiting liquor store locations with the head of the state employees union, a liquor commission employee.

“It is clear that our state is profiting from cash bulk transactions where at least some of the cash is likely coming from illegal trafficking, whether in drugs, guns or humans,” according to Volinsky, who suggested the hiring of an “outside forensic auditor” to assist the attorney general in an investigation.

On Tuesday, Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley took that a step further, calling for an FBI investigation.

Buckley cited criticism of Volinsky by Sununu, who questioned whether it was appropriate for the councilor to conduct his own undercover investigation of state liquor stores, including photographs of customers and their license plates.

“Rather than supporting an attempt to find the truth through an investigation, Republicans have been content to dismiss councilor Volinsky's fact-finding approach while neglecting to address his claims,” said Buckley in a statement, which came a day after the state Republican Party called for an investigation into Volinsky’s liquor store sting.

Buckley claims MacDonald cannot conduct an unbiased investigation into Volinsky's allegations.

“Attorney General MacDonald has yet to disagree with Gov. Sununu on a major issue,” Buckley states. “Sununu's vocal criticism of Volinsky rather than the liquor commission's alleged behavior raises questions about the attorney general's capacity to conduct an unbiased investigation through his office.”

dsolomon@newstote.com


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