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Formal complaints filed against Guinta

Last modified: 10/6/2010 12:00:00 AM
Democratic U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter's campaign is continuing to press Republican challenger Frank Guinta on a bank account he initially failed to disclose, an issue Guinta's campaign said he cleared up months ago.

Last week, the New Hampshire Democratic Party filed formal complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the clerk of the U.S. House about Guinta amending his financial disclosure form in July to include a Bank of America account worth between $250,001 and $500,000.

Yesterday, the Shea-Porter campaign released a statement calling on Guinta to release bank records from the account.

'He is using this slush fund to finance his campaign, and he has an obligation to tell voters where the money came from,' said Jamie Radice, spokeswoman for Shea-Porter.

Brett Bosse, Guinta's spokesman, declined to comment on how Guinta generated the money in the account or whether it has been used to fund Guinta's campaign.

'All I can say is that it's his money,' Bosse said. 'It's his personal business.'

Bosse said Shea-Porter is using the bank account to distract voters from issues like the economy and health care reform.

'We addressed this voluntarily months ago,' Bosse said. 'This is clearly a means by Congresswoman Shea-Porter to hide her record.'

Guinta's bank account first came to light during the Republican primary. His federal financial disclosure form filed in May listed three bank accounts with a combined value between $17,003 and $80,000. Two months later, Guinta amended the form to show a bank account between $250,001 and $500,000.

'I think it's absolutely vital that Republicans put up a nominee free of ethical clouds,' Sean Mahoney, who lost the nomination to Guinta, said during the primary at a televised debate on WMUR.

Guinta called the omission a 'very simple error.' Bosse pointed out that Guinta's amended disclosure form also fixes other mistakes: An incorrect date for the specified filing period and a failure to identify himself as a board director for the Liberty House veterans shelter or the SEE Science Center in Manchester.

The complaint from the state Democratic Party questions how - without the previously omitted bank account - Guinta would have been able to loan his campaign $245,000 through June, as reflected in FEC filings. Guinta, a married father of two, most recently made a $72,000 salary during four years as the mayor of Manchester.

'The original financial disclosure statement filed by Mr. Guinta simply does not reflect income or assets that would permit him to make such a significant investment of personal funds to his campaign,' the complaint reads.

Shea-Porter's campaign yesterday sought to link the bank account issue to an exchange during a debate last week on NHPR.

Trying to show that government helps people, Shea-Porter had asked Guinta if he received any student loans to go to college.

Guinta responded by saying he did not receive student loans while attending Assumption College in Worcester, Mass. His disclosure form lists a 'school loan' liability between $15,001 and $50,000 from NHHEAF Network.

Bosse said Guinta responded correctly during the debate, though he did not address whether the loan was used for Guinta's master's degree at Franklin Pierce Law School.

Radice said Guinta's financial clarifications show 'a pattern of behavior.'

Bosse said the Guinta campaign is paying attention to more important issues facing voters in the Nov. 2 election.

'We remained focused on how to fix the economy and cut government spending during the primary, and remain focused on that now,' he said.

Rob Moller, Shea-Porter's campaign manager, said there will be time to focus on other issues during debates and on the campaign trail.

'We're just simply looking for the truth here,' he said.


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