Hassan Returning $51K in Donations Amid Law Firm's Payback System

Oct 31, 2016


Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Democratic New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan will return $51,000 in donations to her U.S. Senate and gubernatorial campaigns from a Massachusetts law firm after a newspaper investigation found the firm's partners received bonuses that matched their donations.

The Boston Globe's Spotlight team and the Center for Responsive Politics found that partners of the Thornton law firm received $1.4 million in "bonuses" between 2010 and 2014, including 280 that precisely matched contributions made to Democratic committees and politicians. The law firm says its donation reimbursement program was reviewed by outside lawyers and complied with the law, but campaign finance experts say it raises numerous red flags.

Hassan's campaign says she had no idea how the firm reported the contributions. A spokeswoman for Hassan's opponent, Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, says the donations raise serious ethical and legal questions.