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Concord - Today, New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn called for Governor Maggie Hassan to halt her efforts to expand the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) to cover leases:

"Yet again, Governor Hassan demonstrates that she has no regard for rules. Her attempt to expand the Real Estate Transfer Tax goes around the Legislature. If she wants to increase taxes, she should work with our state elected officials to pass legislation. I applaud Republicans in the state Senate in their rightful quest to stop her from secretly raising taxes without legislative approval. Hassan continues to believe that rules apply to everyone but herself. It's unacceptable, and we must replace her with a Republican who will respect and abide by official process this fall."

According to the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration and RETT forms, the tax does not apply to leases of less than 99 years.  Yet, Governor Hassan's administration first asked the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules for the authority to apply the tax to leases, only to withdraw their request and claim that the Governor has the authority to apply the tax to leases. 

BACKGROUND

NH RSA 78-B authorizes the Real Estate Transfer Tax of $0.75 per $100 of fair market value "imposed upon the sale, granting and transfer of real estate and any interest therein including transfers by operation of law." The tax is paid by both the buyer and the seller, resulting in a total tax rate of 1.5%.

Administrative Rule Part Rev 802.01(f) applies RETT on leases of 99 years or longer, but do not authorize RETT on shorter leases. The Hassan Administration has sought a change in Administrative Rules to allow RETT on "ground lease transfers", but delayed its request twice in the face of criticism from the Committee. The Hassan Administration has now withdrawn its request, claiming that "the taxability of ground leases exists currently under New Hampshire law."

Administrative Rules Chapter Rev 800- Transfer of Real Property
Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn today formally responded to the Hassan Campaign's defense of the governor's illegal campaign contribution scheme. The response was delivered to the New Hampshire Department of Justice this morning.

"Governor Hassan's illegal campaign contribution scheme has raised very serious questions about the priorities and integrity of her administration. It is clear that Governor Hassan has repeatedly and intentionally ignored contribution limits and solicited limitless donations from special interest groups." said NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. "Governor Hassan believes that it is acceptable for her to sit in the corner office in Concord and take unlimited amounts of money from special interest groups that have business before state government. This is a clear violation of New Hampshire laws and shows that the Hassan Administration is beholden to special interests that are trying to buy influence in Concord."

Hassan has accepted donations from Big Labor PACs that dramatically exceed New Hampshire's campaign contribution limits, including a $25,000 contribution from that International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union that is pushing for lawmakers to support the North Pass transmission line project.

The left-leaning Concord Monitor editorial page criticized Hassan's decision to accept the illegal contributions.

"[R]egardless of the decision arrived at by the attorney general's office, Hassan has a perception problem on her hands. A campaign's broad interpretation of campaign finance laws is akin to a child hearing only what he or she wants to hear, and the political damage can be significant," wrote theMonitor. "[S]uddenly $25,000 has bought the campaign nothing but legal problems, anxiety for supporters and fuel for opponents who can spin the Hassan campaign's interpretation of law into something much more sinister."

CLICK HERE TO READ THE NHGOP'S RESPONSE TO THE HASSAN CAMPAIGN'S ILLEGAL FUNDRAISING SCHEME
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Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn today released the following statement in response to Governor Hassan's request that Attorney General Joseph Foster expedite his review of the NHGOP's complaints regarding Hassan's illegal campaign contributions:

"The opinion provided by the New Hampshire Department of Justice on February 10, 2012 makes it very clear that Governor Hassan's limitless special interest fundraising scheme is illegal.  It is troubling that the governor thinks that the campaign contribution limits that are followed by every other state candidate do not apply to her.  Governor Hassan clearly believes that she should be able to accept unlimited donations from unions, special interest groups and organizations with business before the state while she serves in the corner office.  That is not the New Hampshire way, and it is a clear violation of our laws."

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More Illegal Union PAC Contributions Reveal Troubling Pattern

Concord - The New Hampshire Republican State Committee today filed a second complaint with New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster, asking him to expand his investigation of Governor Maggie Hassan's campaign finances after more illegal contributions came to light. NH Journal and the Concord Monitor reported this morning that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Committee on Political Education and the United Food and Commercial (UFCW) Active Ballot Club PAC each gave Hassan $10,000 donations that exceeded contribution limits.

"It is now clear that Governor Hassan has repeatedly and intentionally ignored contribution limits and solicited limitless donations from special interest groups. The governor doesn't think that she needs to follow the same rules that other candidates follow, and she has made a mockery out of New Hampshire's campaign finance laws," said NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. "Governor Hassan believes that it is acceptable for her to sit in the corner office in Concord and take unlimited amounts of money from special interest groups that have business before state government. This is a clear violation of the spirit and letter of New Hampshire's finance laws."

Below is the letter that the New Hampshire Republican State Committee sent to the New Hampshire Department of Justice today:

Attorney General Joseph Foster
New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street
Concord, NH 03301

Dear Attorney General Joseph Foster,

On behalf of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, I am writing to request that you expand your investigation into Governor Maggie Hassan's illegal campaign fundraising scheme. According to media reports, in addition to the illegal $25,000 contribution that the governor accepted from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) PAC, the governor's campaign also accepted two $10,000 contributions from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Committee on Political Education PAC (Exhibit A) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Active Ballot Club PAC (Exhibit B). These donations far exceed the $5,000 pre-declaration of candidacy limit that has been established in previous Department of Justice opinions.

Documents filed with the Secretary of State's office show that the SEIU Committee on Political Education PAC and the UFCW Active Ballot Club PAC both donated $10,000 to "Friends of Maggie Hassan" on June 12, 2014. This is the same day that the IBEW PAC donated $25,000 to "Friends of Maggie Hassan" and the same day that Governor Hassan officially filed her candidacy for re-election. Like the IBEW PAC, the SEIU Committee on Political Education and the UFCW Active Ballot Club PAC failed to follow New Hampshire law by disclosing any of their itemized receipts. The source of their funding is a mystery.

Further, Governor Hassan's campaign has stated in response to our previous letter that she is not required to adhere to any campaign finance limits in her pre-declaration of candidacy stage. Her interpretation clearly undermines the spirit and letter of New Hampshire law and directly contradicts the opinion provided by the Department of Justice and currently posted on the Secretary of State's website. This opinion, which provides guidance to all candidates running for state office, clearly states that candidate committees are limited to $5,000 donations before they declare their candidacy.

As Governor Hassan stated in her June 12, 2014 letter to Secretary Gardner "Friends of Maggie Hassan" was a candidate committee before and after its name was changed to "Maggie 14." (Exhibit C) Before its name change, "Friends of Maggie Hassan" served as a candidate committee making direct expenditures to support Governor Hassan's reelection campaign by paying for political expenses and a staff that included a re-election campaign manager who was named on April 11, 2014.

It is clear that Governor Hassan has operated a political fundraising operation for her re-election campaign that has not followed any of the contribution limits that are required by New Hampshire law. She has refused to follow the rules that have been laid out for every other state candidate by opinions released by the Department of Justice. In her view, she is allowed to sit in the corner office in Concord and take unlimited amounts of money from the special interest groups that have business before state government.

Given the fact that Governor Hassan's re-election campaign is currently in possession of illegal campaign contributions that could improperly influence the upcoming elections, I ask that you please complete your review in an expedited manner. I also ask that you please investigate why the union affiliated PACs mentioned in this complaint have not disclosed their itemized receipts as required by law.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Horn
Chairman
New Hampshire Republican State Committee

We are pleased to announce our new headquarters at 149 Emerald Street at the Center of Keene.  Frand opening event coming soon.  Watch for details.

Below you will find excerpts from Senator Kelly Ayotte's op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal regarding the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision.  To view the full piece, please visit the WSJ website.

The Hobby Lobby Decision and Its Distortions

Nothing in the Supreme Court's recent ruling denies women access to birth control
By Kelly Ayotte and Deb Fischer
The Wall Street Journal
July 16, 2014

In the days since the Supreme Court's June 30 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, we have been troubled by those who seem eager to misrepresent both the facts of the case and the impact of its ruling on women-all to divide Americans and score political points in a tough election year.

The biggest distortion: the #NotMyBossBusiness campaign on Twitter, which falsely suggests that under the ruling employers can deny their employees access to birth control.

That's flat-out false. Nothing in the Hobby Lobby ruling stops a woman from getting or filling a prescription for any form of contraception. Those who distort the court's decision insist that one cannot support religious liberty and also support access to safe, affordable birth control. But these are principles that we, and millions of others, support. Americans believe strongly that we should be able to practice our religion without undue interference from the government. It's a fundamental conviction that goes to the very core of our character-and dates back to the founding of our nation. The Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which protects rights of conscience, reaffirmed our centuries-old tradition of religious liberty.

Contrary to the misleading rhetoric, the Hobby Lobby ruling does not take away women's access to birth control. No employee is prohibited from purchasing any Food and Drug Administration approved drug or device, and contraception remains readily available and accessible for all women nationwide. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, prior to ObamaCare over 85% of large businesses already offered contraceptive coverage to their employees. And the ObamaCare mandate under review in the case doesn't even apply to businesses with fewer than 50 employees. For lower-income women, there are five programs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that help ensure access to contraception for women, including Medicaid.

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With misinformation now swirling, it's important to understand what the court's decision doesn't mean.

The court's majority opinion explicitly states that the ruling does not "provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice." Additionally, the court said that "our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer's religious beliefs"-meaning, you must show a legitimate religious objection.

While some Americans may disagree with the Green family's views, nearly all Americans believe that religious freedom is a fundamental right that must not be abridged. When President Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, he said: "Our laws and institutions should not impede or hinder, but rather should protect and preserve fundamental religious liberties."

Congressional Democrats used to share that view. What's changed? We can preserve access to contraceptives without trampling on Americans' religious freedom.

Ms. Ayotte is a Republican senator from New Hampshire. Ms. Fischer is a Republican senator from Nebraska.
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