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Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn released the following statement on the Department of Justice ruling on Governor Hassan's illegal campaign contribution scandal:

"Today's ruling confirms that Governor Maggie Hassan broke the law by accepting an illegal campaign contribution from a special interest union PAC. Governor Hassan was caught red-handed trying to funnel tens of thousands of dollars in illegal donations into her campaign bank account, and her behavior raises serious ethical questions about her administration.

"Given the troubling implications of this scandal, Governor Hassan should immediately release her campaign finance reports in advance of the August 20th filing deadline. The public has a right to know if the governor has accepted any other illegal donations that could improperly influence the gubernatorial campaign.

"The Department of Justice ruling has established a troubling loophole that allows elected officials like Governor Hassan to accept infinite amounts of money from special interests while in office. It appears that Governor Hassan is the only official who has attempted to exploit this questionable exception and allow the corrupting influence of unlimited special interest donations to poison her campaign.

"It will up to the next responsible Republican governor to close the 'Hassan Special Interest Loophole' and restore integrity to our campaign finance system."

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

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