Among his nearly one million three hundred thousand dollars ($1,300,000) in out-of-state campaign contributions, Chris Sununu has accepted at least forty-eight thousand dollars ($48,000) in dark money contributions of unknown origin and is nearly certain to accept even more before his next campaign finance filing on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018.
So far, Sununu has accepted thirty-five thousand dollars ($35,000) from thirty-five separate foreign Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), whose owners are unknown to the public. By using registered agents and third-party registration systems, these entities’ owners hide their identities and the source of campaign contributions—contrary to the intent of our law. The loophole has been reported on extensively since 2010, but never closed. More here.
NH RSA 664:4, V prohibits contributions by any person: “… (2) if made anonymously or under a name not that of the donor; (3) if made in the guise of a loan; (4) if in any other manner concealed, (5) if made without the knowledge and written consent of the candidate or his fiscal agent…” Still, past Attorneys General have interpreted the law to treat LLCs the same as an individual.
Sununu has also accepted nearly seven thousand dollars ($7,000) from H. Russell Taub of Cranston, RI, the founder of the “Keeping America in Republican Control PAC” (KAIRC PAC)—an alleged “Scam PAC.” Despite the PAC’s own claims of raising over $1.5 million, it has never registered with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) or disclosed the sources and amounts of the contributions it has received.
In a complaint to the FEC on July 25, 2018, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) called for an investigation into KAIRC PAC. FACT also raised concerns about Taub’s connections to the International Human Rights Commission, a Ukrainian organization founded in 2014 and bearing a name that might lead to its being confused with the UN’s Human Rights Council.
FACT wrote, “Given [Taub’s] clear ties to Ukraine as proudly stated on the KAIRC PAC website, it is especially important for the Commission to investigate KAIRC PAC and ensure that the funds raised did not come from any foreign nationals,” the complaint continues. More here.
WHY IS CHRIS SUNUNU MORE TROUBLED BY OUT-OF-STATE COLLEGE STUDENTS THAN OUT-OF-STATE DARK MONEY DONORS?
When Governor Sununu signed new voting eligibility requirements into law earlier this year, he claimed it was to ensure equal treatment and fairness. Purportedly to the aforementioned ends, HB 1264 places new requirements upon out-of-state students at New Hampshire’s colleges and universities. They will no longer be allowed to vote without getting a New Hampshire driver’s license or registering their cars. For some students, these residency requirements could jeopardize their eligibility for financial aid from the state they come from.
Where is the fairness in allowing Dark Money Donors to conceal their contributions through foreign LLCs? If students will have to register a car to vote in New Hampshire, shouldn’t foreign (out-of-state) LLCs wishing to contribute campaign funds have to register in NH or at least disclose their owners? The LLC loophole serves only as a mechanism for the wealthiest of donors to have a disproportionate impact upon New Hampshire elections and policy.
Will Chris Sununu return his dark money contributions in the interest of fairness and transparency? Will he ask his Attorney General, Secretary of State, and legislators to work as ambitiously to clean up New Hampshire’s campaign finance system as they did in establishing new requirements for our college voters? Ask him.