Granite State Progress Requests AG Recusal Around Election Law Complaint Chris Sununu’s Campaign Accepted Nearly $20,000 in Illegal Campaign Contributions

Granite State Progress respectfully asks office to avoid any appearance of impropriety, also requests that DOJ expedite complaint

Concord, NH – On Monday, Granite State Progress respectfully requested that Attorney General Gordon MacDonald recuse himself from any role around the election law complaint that the Friends of Chris Sununu accepted nearly $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions.

Granite State Progress’ letter reads in part: “Our organization appreciates the work of your office, and in particular the new unit and dedicated resources to investigate election law complaints. Given the high-profile nature of this complaint and the need for the Attorney General’s office to remain free from even the appearance of impropriety, Granite State Progress respectfully requests that Attorney General Gordon MacDonald recuse himself from any role regarding the election complaint filed around Friends of Chris Sununu accepting nearly $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions. As noted in the media, the Attorney General’s former law firm is one of the partnerships listed in the complaint … The Friends of Chris Sununu campaign has publicly indicated that they will not return the donations and intend to argue the law does not apply to them. If the Sununu campaign stands by that statement, it is likely this election law complaint will gather more scrutiny.”

Previously, Granite State Progress sent a letter requesting that the Attorney General’s office expedite the review of the complaint, citing three major concerns arising from the Sununu campaign’s public defense of the contributions: 1) the Sununu campaign intends to spend the prohibited funds; 2) the Sununu campaign will continue to accept prohibited contributions; and 3) other partnerships and unions, and the candidate campaigns they may support, are at disadvantage if they continue to follow the law while the Sununu campaign accepts and uses prohibited funds.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “Granite State Progress is confident in the grounds for our complaint that the Chris Sununu campaign accepted nearly $20,000 in illegal contributions. There are only two outcomes here, either the Sununu campaign has to return the illegal contributions or the Attorney General’s office overturns the law prohibiting contributions from partnerships and unions. Either way, this will be a high-profile ruling with major implications. We appreciate the work of the Attorney General’s office to investigate this complaint. This case is only further proof of why the new election unit is so important, so that violations are caught earlier before they can unduly influence our elections.”

Under RSA 664:18, the normal process is for the Attorney General’s office to review the complaint and determine whether to open an investigation. Last week the office confirmed that a copy of the complaint had been sent to the Sununu campaign with a request to respond, signaling an investigation. No specific time frame or deadline was established for the response.

A copy of the full complaint can be found here.

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

As a Candidate in 2016, Chris Sununu Told Voters He’d Support Universal Background Checks and Gun Violence Prevention Measures; As Governor, A Different Story (Video)

Governor Sununu punted on universal background checks, repealed nearly 100 year old concealed carry law, and supports guns in schools despite outcry from students, educators, and parents

Concord, NH –As a Gubernatorial candidate in 2016, Chris Sununu told voters that he’d support universal background checks and other measures to protect Granite Staters, but his record in office tells a very different story.

Candidate Chris Sununu, 2016: “I do also support universal background checks, where appropriate. To the point of the question, it’s a very important question, when you’re dealing with domestic violence issues, we must be standing up. Both at the local level and at the state level to protect those and families who would be held at risk. That’s one of the first and foremost responsibilities of government. It;s health and safety of individuals. For standing up for them, providing support and making sure they know that we will support them at every turn. So whether it’s limiting guns and making sure that those who would commit violence in homes, that we’re providing those correct background checks, that we’re providing those correct checks and balances – that’s important because it’s important to families, it’s important to the victims.” (Video: NH1 Gubernatorial Debate 2016)

Governor Chris Sununu: “Look, I think the laws we have on firearms in the state are pretty darn good and I’m not looking for any additional restrictions at this time.” (Valley News, Sununu: Gun Laws Fine As Is, 2/9/18) “Speaking to a group of reporters on Wednesday, Gov. Chris Sununu would not say whether he  supports any changes to state-level gun laws in the aftermath of the mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school last week. “I’ve always said and I firmly believe, New Hampshire has some pretty good firearms regulations and laws on the books, I just think we have a tradition of doing this pretty well,” Sununu said.” (NHPR, In Wake of Parkland Shooting, Sununu Says Congress is Right Place to Tackle Gun Reform, 2/21/18) Sununu said prior to the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Feb. 14 that he believes the state’s firearms laws are sufficient and he is not in favor of additional restrictions. He reiterated his position after the shootings, saying that gun laws should be debated and decided by Congress. (WMUR, Marchand reveals plan to reduce gun violence, 2/27/18)

As Governor, Chris Sununu punted on closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of the hands of felons and domestic abusers, repealed a nearly 100-year old concealed carry law despite public safety concerns voiced by local law enforcement, and opposed legislation to keep guns out of our children’s schools. Sununu called our lax gun laws “pretty darn good” and doubled down on that sentiment again last week in the WMUR Gubernatorial Debate.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “Governor Sununu has an opportunity to join a growing bipartisan group of governors around the country who recognize that gun violence is a serious public health issue and are taking steps to address it. Instead, he continues to side with the corporate gun lobby over the health and safety of Granite Staters.”

Since 2009, Granite State Progress has tracked and weighed in on firearms policy at the state and federal level, and convenes the New Hampshire Gun Violence Prevention Coalition.

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

NH Attorney General’s Office Investigating Complaint Chris Sununu’s Campaign Accepted Nearly $20,000 in Illegal Campaign Contributions

NH Attorney General’s office confirmed that an investigation has been opened and Chris Sununu’s campaign has been asked to respond

Concord, NH – The NH Attorney General’s office has opened an investigation on Granite State Progress’ election complaint that the candidate committee Friends of Chris Sununu accepted nearly $20,000 in unlawful contributions from partnerships. The Sununu campaign has been forwarded a copy of the complaint and asked to respond.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “We are pleased that the Attorney General’s office is looking into these serious violations by Chris Sununu’s campaign. We call on Governor Sununu to return the illegal contributions immediately.”

In an interview with WMUR Primary Source this week, Sununu’s campaign manager Paul Collins called the donations “perfectly legal” and maintained that ‘limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships are not the same as partnerships’ despite NH RSA’s that state otherwise. Granite State Progress sent a follow-up letter to the NH Attorney General’s office noting that the statements raise serious concerns that the Sununu campaign 1) intends to spend the funds despite New Hampshire statutes clearly deeming them inappropriate; 2) will continue to accept prohibited partnership contributions; and 3) other partnerships and unions restricted under RSA 664:4, and the candidate campaigns they may support, are at a disadvantage if they continue to follow the law as written while the Friends of Chris Sununu accepts and uses prohibited funds.

A copy of the previous press release and complaint can be found here.

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

Chris Sununu’s Campaign Accepted Nearly $20,000 in Illegal Campaign Contributions

Granite State Progress files election complaint with AG’s office

Concord, NH – Today Granite State Progress filed an election law complaint citing that the candidate committee Friends of Chris Sununu has accepted nearly $20,000 in unlawful contributions from partnerships.

New Hampshire law squarely prohibits contributions by partnerships. RSA 664:4, II prohibits donations from partnerships or by any partner acting in behalf of such partnership. Partnership is defined under New Hampshire law in RSA 304-A:6 to include limited liability partnerships (LLPs). Sununu’s campaign accepted $18,250.00 in partnership donations this cycle – including $7,000 from a subsidiary of NextEra Energy.

Friends of Chris Sununu Campaign Finance Report June 7, 2017

Gexa Energy, LP contribution made 1/24/17 in amount of $7,000

Nixon Peabody, LLP contribution made 5/8/17 in amount of $4,250

Friends of Chris Sununu Campaign Filing, December 6, 2017

Keegan Werlin, LLP contribution made 9/15/17 in amount of $7,000

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “We call on Governor Sununu to immediately return these illegal campaign contributions. These funds should not be used to influence the election.”

A copy of the complaint can be read here: Election Law Complaint – Chris Sununu’s Campaign Accepted Nearly $20,000 in Illegal Campaign Contributions, 11.1.18

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

“No Soup for SNAP” Actions Call on Congressional Delegation, Governor Sununu to Protect Food Access as Committee of Conference Meets to Determine Fate of Food Stamps

Cross-posted with Granite State Progress Education Fund

Nashua, NH – As a Congressional committee of conference met for the first time yesterday to discuss the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as “SNAP” or food stamps, Granite State advocates kicked-off a series of events in local communities to highlight the importance of the hunger prevention program for Granite State families.

“SNAP has been called ‘the cornerstone of the nation’s nutrition safety net’ and is one of the most important programs in place to prevent hunger and food insecurity in the United States,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress Education Fund. “SNAP increases food security for 88,692 Granite State adults and children, but new proposed barriers within the House farm bill would limit access for those individuals who rely on the program to feed their families. We call on our Congressional delegation to continue to speak out in support of SNAP, and for Governor Sununu to raise his voice as well in support of the much better Senate version. No Granite Stater should go hungry.”

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the House farm bill completely eliminates or reduces SNAP benefits for more than 2 million people, particularly low-income working families with children. Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster rejected the damaging House version of the bill; Kuster serves on the committee of conference between the House and Senate to determine the final structure of SNAP benefits going forward.

Local leaders familiar with SNAP and its benefits spoke during the event about the importance of protecting the program:

Michael Reinke, Executive Director, Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter: “We are here because 11 percent of Hillsborough County is living in poverty today. We know that 40% of the kids in Nashua Public Schools, or 4,000 children, receive free or reduced lunch. We know according to Feed America that 10 percent of seniors in Nashua are food insecure. Providing access to food really is a measure of our society. We are about making sure our society comes together to help people who are the most vulnerable or the most at risk. And when our society comes together to support one another, we are stronger. Part of the way we can support each other is to make sure people have access to the food they need to make them healthy and strong.”

Lisa Beaudoin, Executive Director, ABLE New Hampshire: “People with disabilities experience disproportionately higher rates of poverty, hunger and food insecurity in our nation and right here in New Hampshire. Nearly 47% of low income households with a member unable to work due to disability participate in SNAP. SNAP is a critical lifesaver to people with disabilities. Ill-defined work requirements on people with disabilities who already face cruel barriers to employment perpetuates the cycles of poverty, hunger, and food insecurity.”

Kimmie Dettore, Manager, Revive Recovery Center: “There are barriers already in place when you’re a person in recovery. What they consider early recovery is the first year. You are discharged from a hospital, from a behavioral health center or a rehabilitation program after anywhere from a week to 3 months. And you’re sent out and you haven’t been working. You don’t have the same job, you no longer live in the same location, and you’ve got to rebuild your foundation to have success as a citizen and as an individual. To know where your community is at and where you fit in. But what platform do you have without your health? How can you make any of that progress without your physical health? You need food to survive. We all need food to survive.”

Advocates note that Granite Staters working in jobs with low-wages, irregular schedules, or a lack of key benefits such as paid sick leave or family and medical leave insurance are also more likely to experience food insecurity. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, SNAP kept 8.4 million people out of poverty in 2015, including 3.8 million children.

The “No Soup for SNAP” action included a small art installation of 88 empty soup cans, each can representing 1,000 Granite Staters who utilize SNAP, on display in front of City Hall in Nashua, where organizers collected petitions and heard personal stories from Nashua residents impacted by SNAP. The petitions are being collected in major cities and online over the next two weeks.

The next No Soup for SNAP action is scheduled for Portsmouth’s Market Square on Friday, September 7th at 11:15 AM.

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SNAP to Health, https://www.snaptohealth.org/snap/the-real-benefits-of-the-snap-program/