Attorney General recuses himself from latest Hassan complaint
Attorney General Joe Foster has recused himself from reviewing the latest campaign finance complaint filed by the New Hampshire Republican Party, which targets a 2012 contribution made to then-gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan.
During that campaign cycle, Foster – a former State Senator from Nashua – was on Hassan’s finance committee. Because of that connection, the complaint filed by the party on Aug. 6 called on Foster to recuse himself.
Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Horn said the attorney general made the “right decision” in a statement released yesterday. “We hope that the New Hampshire Department of Justice will expedite its ongoing investigation into Gov. Hassan’s shady campaign finances and quickly provide an opinion on her suspicious failure to disclose her donors on a required campaign finance report,” she said.
Associate Attorney General Richard Head confirmed Foster’s recusal. Foster couldn’t be reached for comment.
The state Republican Party alleges in the complaint that a $25,000 contribution made to Hassan’s 2012 campaign by the plumbers and steamfitters political committee violated campaign finance laws because of the donation’s timing.
Hassan campaign spokesman Aaron Jacobs responded yesterday with a statement he made when the complaint was officially filed.
“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.
At the beginning of August, the attorney general’s office ruled that Hassan’s re-election campaign had to return $33,000 in contributions made by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC and the plumbers and steamfitters political committee.
Foster ruled that Hassan return $24,000 of a $25,000 contribution from the IBEW because the campaign received it a day after Hassan filed for re-election. The campaign returned a $9,000 contribution from the plumbers and steamfitters political committee because of similar circumstances. According to the attorney general’s ruling, candidates can collect unlimited donations through their political action committees until they file for office.
Jacobs said the 2012 contribution from the plumbers and steamfitters political committee “was both issued and physically delivered the day of the filing.”
(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)