Editorial: To best serve the state, Guinta must step down

Last modified: 5/21/2015 12:24:37 AM
It’s time to go, Frank. Politically, you’re a dead man walking. We apologize for what might seem like piling on, but we would be doing 1st District residents a disservice if we didn’t join the bipartisan chorus calling on you to resign.

We’ve been no fan of Congressman Guinta’s performance in Washington. When he came to the Monitor to meet with editors before his 2010 election, he presented himself as a mayor who attributed his success to his bipartisanship. Once in Washington, he was anything but bipartisan. In fact, he became known for his consistently extreme conservative positions. Being wrong, however consistently, does not disqualify a politician from holding office. Being dishonest does.

Guinta was elected in 2010 during the Tea Party wave that swept many Democrats out of office. A $355,000 campaign contribution Guinta claimed he made from funds he and his wife had accumulated helped him win the Republican primary and become his party’s nominee. But Guinta lied about the source of the money. It came from an account controlled by his parents, and though he still claims he had contributed to the account for most of his life, his name was not on it.

The money, the Federal Election Commission ruled after a lengthy investigation, came from his parents – and the contribution was illegal. Each had already contributed the maximum allowable amount.

For five years, Guinta ducked and dodged when asked about the money he claimed he had lent to himself. The feds didn’t buy it. He was ordered to repay his parents and pay a $15,000 fine. Guinta remains unrepentant. He mischaracterizes the FEC decision by pretending that he was fined for a mere “reporting error,” not for taking money illegally. He continues to claim that the money, at least some of it, was his. Maybe, maybe not.

It should not come as a surprise that Guinta broke the law in pursuit of victory – he lost his seat to Carol Shea-Porter in 2012 and won it back two years later. Nor is it surprising that he played fast and loose with the facts. He was not who he said he was before he went to Washington and, in running against Shea-Porter for the second time, he authorized advertisements designed to fool voters into thinking that she, not he, was the incumbent.

Guinta’s dissembling demonstrates that he does not deserve the public’s trust. Character matters. By continuing in office, he is robbing 1st District residents of effective representation. He can’t be believed, and he won’t be trusted. For the good of the state and nation, he must step down.




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