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AG: Union broke campaign finance rules in donation to Hassan, must submit documentation

Last modified: 10/9/2014 3:23:04 PM
Local Union 131 Volunteer PAC failed to follow state campaign finance requirements when it donated $25,000 to Gov. Maggie Hassan’s 2012 campaign, the attorney general’s office ruled in response to a complaint filed in August by the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.

The union was not registered as a political committee at the time it contributed the money and did not properly report the funds in a later filing with the secretary of state, Associate Attorney General Richard Head wrote in a ruling released Tuesday.

No later than Wednesday, the union must retroactively submit documentation related to its registration as a political committee in 2006-07, 2008-09 and 2010-11, and it must also file a report of all of its receipts and expenses dating to Jan. 1, 2009, Head wrote. Head said the union is allowed to remain politically active so long as it complies with the requirements outlined in the ruling, and Hassan’s campaign is not required to return the $25,000.

The donation was made the day she filed her candidacy and is within the requirements of the state’s campaign finance law, according to the ruling.

Nonetheless, state Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Horn, in a statement, called on Hassan to “immediately donate the $41,000 in tainted contributions she has accepted from the Local Union 131 Volunteer PAC to charity.”

Hassan’s campaign spokesman Aaron Jacobs said the “contributions at issue have been confirmed as accepted in accordance with state law.”

“We expect and encourage Local Union 131 Volunteer PAC to comply with the Attorney General’s guidance as quickly as possible,” Jacobs wrote in an email.

David Pelletier, listed online as the chairman of the union’s political committee as registered for this election cycle, did not return a call seeking comment by press time.

The Republican state committee asked the attorney general’s office to look into the union’s donations shortly after the office ruled on another one of the party’s complaints, focusing on campaign contributions from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers political committee. In that case, the attorney general ordered Hassan to return $24,000 of $25,000 because the donation was collected the day after the governor filed for re-election.

According to August campaign finance filings, Hassan refunded $9,000 to the Local Union 131 Volunteers PAC and returned $24,000 to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party asked the attorney general’s office to investigate the campaign finances of Hassan’s Republican opponent, Walt Havenstein. The office has not yet ruled on that request.

(Casey McDermott can be reached at 369-3306 or 
cmcdermott@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @caseymcdermott.)


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