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My Turn: Important legislation makes clear who’s trying to buy New Hampshire

When it comes to public companies, “disclosure” is an important word. We require publicly traded companies to reveal information that is material to those who would invest their money in them. Disclosure is certainly not perfect in corporate America, but it is improving. Unfortunately, the standard of disclosure is still woefully lacking when it comes to politics.

Last month we witnessed Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig pick up the torch of the late Doris “Granny D” Haddock. He and other citizens walked from Dixville Notch to Nashua to call attention to the national problem of how special-interest organizations are debasing and harming our democracy. In part this is due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v FEC. In effect, this court decision opened the floodgates of special-interest money now influencing our national elections.

Here in New Hampshire an unknown number of out-of-state special-interest organizations are spending millions of dollars in political communications to support or defeat candidates.

Unfortunately, current state law does not require disclosure of any of it. In fact, New Hampshire’s disclosure laws do not require these so-called “independent” or special- interest organizations to register or report anything – not where the money comes from or where it goes. Thus, outside money flows into our state anonymously.

Thankfully, there is now legislation pending in Concord, House Bill 392, that says, in effect, “No” to this non-disclosure standard in our state – and “No” to New Hampshire now being the highest per capita recipient in the nation of outside special-interest money. This legislation would require all qualifying organizations to register and disclose to the public a basic level of their political influence, such who they are giving money to in the Granite State.

We should demand no less a standard from our political system than we do our corporate one. It’s time for an overhaul before the cancer spreads further. We need to have meaningful public dialogue as to how to make our political landscape fair for all citizens – Republicans, Democrats, and independents.

No less than our democracy depends on it. Please join me in saying loudly and clearly to Legislature: Please fix this problem. Tell Concord that New Hampshire is not for sale.

(Mark Connolly is the principal of New Castle Investment Advisors, LLC and the former state director of securities regulation.)

To me, it seems obvious that Itsa and sail are mouthpieces for the National Republican Party. Getting their orders straight from the Congressional Republicans. With all the billions flowing from the megabillionaires into the RIGHT-leaning PACs and think tanks, it is obvious that the top 5% richest could never be matched by contributions from the middle class (think real workers). But some are too blind to see such obvious activities, instead opting to follow their misguided beliefs. Having ALL political contributions be recorded by the State of State and available on the State's wbsite would show how lopsided political contributions are and where they come from. I support it.

I would have to agree with the basic premise on outside money. Logic would have this legislation be important to everyone on either side of the political spectrum. If on nothing else, I don't see why we can't all agree that outside money has no business in NH politics. Why should we want outside interests meddling with our elected spokesmen in Congress. They are supposed to be looking out for our interests not the interests of special interest groups. This is, I will admit a rather idealistic view but why exactly do we need our politicians to be financed by the Koch's, George Soros, or the Bloombergs out there. Or any other PAC, citizen united or not. The only ones influencing our candidates should be the citizens that elect them. Itsa, Sail how am I wrong here?

Don't worry they'll tell you.

I see tillie's chat room is open for non discussion of issues

Unfortunately both sides are doing this, just like both sides are trying to buy elections through immigration reform, playing to special interest groups, etc. If you are going to ban money through special interest groups, you have to ban money being poured in by both political parties, unions, etc. Not only that, you have to stop unions from even endorsing candidates. In a perfect world, two candidates would explain their views and what they would do and the press would cover them fairly. That is not happening. We need all bias out of the equation, not just paid bias. Citizens United does provide for giving a voice to many people working for industries that Democrats would love to silence. It is doubtful, for instance that coal or oil workers support Obama or Democrats.

eliminate the incumbents inherent fundraising advantage and then the lefts utopian idea has a smidgeon of credibility. If you were serious you would support the repeal of the 17th amendment and support a return to the principals of the 10 Amendment. That would fix all your perceived problems

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