U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, R-NH, took some heavy fire this week — from Republicans and Democrats alike — for a campaign violation that some believe is serious enough for him to step down from office.
Guinta, thus far, is resolute in saying he will remain the representative from New Hampshire’s 1st District. It remains to be seen whether that resolve holds when it comes time for the 2016 election.
Late last week, Guinta signed off on a Federal Election Campaign investigation that he had taken an illegal $355,000 contribution in his 2010 election campaign.
He contended then — and he contends now, despite agreeing to the FEC finding — that the money was his and was a loan to himself. The FEC found that the money was his parents’ and that it exceeded the $7,500 limit that an individual could make to a campaign at the time.
Guinta has to return the $355,000 to his parents and pay a $15,000 fine.
The Union Leader, in an editorial, called him a “damned liar” and later called for his resignation, a call that resounded from other newspaper editorials in the district.
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, said the violation was serious enough to warrant Guinta’s resignation. While the New Hampshire Republican Party’s executive committee decided not to sanction Guinta over the weekend, GOP leaders elsewhere were taking a dim view of the situation in the Granite State. House Speaker John Boehner, for example, said lawmakers must meet the “highest ethical standards.”
The situation was also proving embarrassing for Republican presidential candidates, some of whom had come to New Hampshire to help Guinta fund raise. The Washington Post called him “politically radioactive.”
Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat who might just jump into the 2016 election as a candidate for U.S. Senate against Ayotte, questioned Guinta’s effectiveness, saying there are “serious issues of trust and honesty here.” See an NHPR story here.
In the State House
Gov. Hassan on Wednesday signed SB 30, the so-called Balsams bill. The legislation allows counties with unincorporated areas to establish tax increment financing districts. The measure was sought so that developer Les Otten could get state-backed financing for the redevelopment of the Balsams Resort in Dixville Notch.
“This bipartisan measure is also an important step forward for advancing the Balsams redevelopment project, which is a bold vision for the revitalization of this historic resort with great potential to create jobs, boost the North Country’s economy, and have a ripple effect for businesses across the state,.” Hassan said during the signing ceremony.
The governor on Thursday signed SB 31, relative to the controlled drug prescription health and safety program. “Senate Bill 31 will allow us to apply for the next round of federal funding and make other functional improvements to strengthen this critical program, including facilitating better coordination across state lines,” said Hassan.
Also this week, the Senate put a choke hold on efforts to legalize Keno in the state. The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted, 4-1, to reject the proposal for Keno that could raise $26 million for the next two-year state budget. See an NH1 story here.
Much of what the Senate is doing is part of its overall consideration of the next two-year budget. Senators are working on the House budget, which came in at $11.2 billion. The House version is $300 million less than the $11.5 billion proposed by Gov. Hassan.
Senate budget writers have moved to restore some of the deep House cuts to health services. See a Concord Monitor story here.
One facet of the House budget was that it had raided the renewable energy fund, which senators said they wanted restored. But Senate budget writers have dipped into the fund to the tune of $1.5 million a year to fund homeland security and emergency management. See a Concord Monitor story here.
The Senate Capital Finance Committee voted along party lines not to spend $4 million on a study of a commuter rail line extension from Boston to Nashua, something Hassan had included in her budget. See an NHPR story here.
First in the nation
Former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush participated in a roundtable discussion in Portsmouth during a two-day stay in the first-in-the-nation primary state.. Here is an LFDA post on the event with videos.
And Democrat Hillary Clinton was close on Bush’s heels, arriving on Friday for visits in Exeter and Hampton. She concentrated on small business promotion. See a Seacoast Online story here.
Should NH local police forces be prohibited from purchasing surplus federal military equipment? Should NH pass a law to suspend licenses if people default on their student loans? Those are just a couple of the questions under discussion on our Facebook page. Join the conversation here.
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