Campaign Finance

N.H. Viewpoints On SCOTUS Campaign Finance Decision

Apr 8, 2014
Sandra Mars / Flickr/CC

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court came down on a decision that will change the way we fund elections.  In a 5-4 vote, the court removed a cap on how many candidates or committees a person can support per election cycle.  Although the amount is still restricted to $2600 per candidate, an individual can now gift that amount to as many politicians as he or she wants. Opponents of the ruling worry the decision may suppress ordinary voices: “where enough money calls the tune,” said Justice William Breyer, “the general public will not be heard.” But supporters like Chief Justice Roberts say that this case follows first amendment rights. “Integration and access are not corruption,” said Roberts, “they embody a central feature of democracy that constituents support candidates who share their beliefs and interests.

GUESTS:

CALLOUT:

  • John Greabe - director of the Rudman Center at UNH Law School. He teaches constitutional law, civil procedure, federal courts and jurisdiction.

NHPR Staff

As the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a major campaign finance ruling Wednesday, a New Hampshire House committee heard testimony on a bill that would no longer allow some political groups to spend money on state elections without disclosing it to voters. 

The proposal, which cleared the Senate by a 19-4 vote February 6, would require any organization that spends more than $5,000 on so-called electioneering to filed detailed reports with the Secretary of State's office.

Sara Plourde

As Scott Brown crisscrosses New Hampshire on what his senate exploratory committee is calling a listening tour, he’s repeatedly said it’s “premature” to talk about how he’ll wage any future campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

On one point, though, Brown has already been crystal clear: He doesn’t want this race to be bound by a so-called people’s pledge, an idea Brown himself devised in 2012 to limit spending by outside groups during his race against Elizabeth Warren.

Flickr - Images of Money

Voters at town meetings across New Hampshire approved resolutions urging state lawmakers to join a nationwide effort to overturn Citizens United, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down limits on political spending by corporations, labor unions and special interest groups.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 28 towns had approved petition warrants supporting campaign finance reform, including Exeter, Amherst, Salem, Deerfield, Hudson, Rindge and Windham.

New Hampshire's campaign-finance regulations are a jumble of contradictions, a fact that people who study the issue never fail to point out.

A year ago, a consortium of good-government types awarded the Granite State a "D" for political financing, citing how easy it is for donors to get around the dollar limits on contributions.

Last week, a campaign-finance watchdog group weighed in, and once again New Hampshire found itself at the bottom of the class.

After an election that saw unprecedented amounts of money spent – the call for limits has come up again, whether on dollar amounts…or more disclosure, so voters will know who’s funding what.  But these efforts, including one recently in New Hampshire, often bump into a variety of concerns.  We’ll look at the state of campaign finance in the Granite State.

Guests:

Early on, predictions were that this twenty-ten U.S. Supreme Court decision would lead outside groups to play an outsized role in our elections, by allowing unlimited political spending.  But now, some question how big an impact Citizens United really had.  We’ll look at this debate in New Hampshire. 

Guests

Hassan's Win Powered By $11 Million In Outside Spending

Nov 16, 2012
Paul Filippov

By the time her victory over Ovide Lamontagne in the 2012 governor's race was in the books, Maggie Hassan had raised more than $1.9 million in contributions from some 7,550 individual donors.

Five days before the Nov. 6 election, Republican nominee Mitt Romney and independent groups that support the presidential candidate are poised to outspend President Barack Obama on television ads targeting New Hampshire voters.

A review of television contracts filed this week with Federal Communications Commission show that the pro-Romney team reserved about $947,000 in air time from Oct. 29 through Election Day on WMUR, WBZ and WHDH.

Meanwhile, the Obama for America campaign reserved about $653,000 in air time on the three stations during the final week of the campaign.

N.H. Congressmen Lag In Campaign Fundraising

Oct 16, 2012

The latest campaign finance reports show New Hampshire's Republican congressmen lagging behind their Democratic challengers in fundraising.

Ovide Lamontagne / YouTube

In what will likely be the most expensive gubernatorial campaign in New Hampshire history, independent political groups supporting candidates Maggie Hassan and Ovide Lamontagne have reserved nearly $7.5 million worth of television ads in the final month of the election.

The political ad barrage is here. Watch a TV show or check out a YouTube video and you’re likely to see the commercials. Same goes for fliers in the mail or yard signs on street corners.

Those ads and signs mean campaign money is flowing into the state, and this past Wednesday, New Hampshire candidates filed their latest campaign finance reports. 

NHPR correspondent Brian Wallstin joins All Things Considered host Brady Carlson with a little of what’s in those reports.

Outside Spending Plays Large Role In N.H. Campaigns

Sep 21, 2012
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/59937401@N07/5856886727/">Images of Money </a> / Flickr

In the days leading up to the Sept. 11 primary, a Manchester-based political action committee called New Hampshire Republicans for Freedom and Equality launched a direct-mail campaign to support the re-election of 40 Republican House members who helped turn back efforts to repeal the state's same-sex marriage law.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6757875045/">401(k) 2012</a> / Flickr

After the U.S. Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision two years ago, state campaign finance laws have come under scrutiny. Now, the N.H. Attorney General has weighed in saying state restrictions on certain political donation no longer apply. We get reaction to this change, and what it means for future elections.

Guests

Larry Noble – CEO and president of Americans for Campaign Reform, working to enact public funding of all federal elections

Gov. Candidate Kevin Smith Collects on LLC Loophole

Aug 24, 2012

No candidate in the  2012 gubernatorial race benefited more from a major loophole in New Hampshire's political-finance regulations than Republican Kevin Smith. 

State election law limits corporate campaign contributions to $7,000 per election cycle, the same as individual donors. But nothing in the law prohibits multiple limited-liability companies controlled by the same individual to donate on behalf of each LLC, making it easy for wealthy donors to exceed the statutory limits.

Campaign finance disclosures are a bedrock principle of open government, which assumes that citizens have the right to know who is paying, and how much, to affect the outcome of an election.

The candidates for governor are touting their fundraising ahead of Wednesday's midnight deadline to submit campaign finance.

What we know so far: Republican Ovide Lamontagne says his campaign raised about $1.2 million dollars. Democrat Maggie Hassan, $930,000; Democrat Jackie Cilley about $281 thousand dollars. No word as of Wednesday afternoon from Republican Kevin Smith.

That's what we know; but there’s a lot we don’t know about campaign money. And many election observers say a lot of campaign money won’t ever show up in candidate reports anyway.

Most Campaign Money Remains Hidden In New Hampshire

Aug 22, 2012
Beverly and Pack / Flickr

With the 2012 primary less than three weeks away, candidates for state office in New Hampshire have until midnight Wednesday to file their first campaign finance reports with the Secretary of State's office.

This story is part of our series on money in politics.

We imagine the lobbyist stalking the halls of Congress trying to use cash to influence important people. But it doesn't always work that way. Often, the Congressman is stalking the lobbyist, asking for money.

When it comes to campaign money, there's one industry GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney can count on: finance.

Some of the single largest checks to the pro-Romney superPAC Restore Our Future come from hedge fund managers. People at securities and investment firms have contributed more than $16 million.

Paul Singer, the man behind the hedge fund Elliott Management, has contributed $1 million.

As of Dec. 31, Elliott Management had $19.2 billion in assets, making it one of the nation's largest hedge funds.

Prospective jurors head to court in North Carolina on Thursday to find out whether they'll be chosen to sit in judgment of former U.S. Sen. John Edwards.

Only four years ago, Edwards was running for the White House as a Democratic candidate. Now, he's a defendant, fighting campaign finance charges that could send him away for as long as 30 years.

The latest reports from the Federal Election Commission shed new light on the political largesse of two Texas businessmen who have become common names in the world of Republican fundraising.

With a $1 million check in February to the superPAC backing Rick Santorum, Dallas nuclear waste dump owner Harold Simmons and his wife, Annette, have now contributed to groups supporting all three of the top GOP candidates.

Mitt Romney had the strongest fundraising among the Republican presidential contenders last month. But a deeper look raises questions about just how strong it is in the long run.

The Romney campaign is unusually reliant on big donors — and weak on small donors.

In one sense, big donors are great. It's a lot quicker and cheaper to raise $2,500 from one person than to get $10 from 250 people. But there's a catch: $2,500 is the legal limit for donations to a candidate's campaign. Once that donor maxes out, you need to find another donor.

The Republican presidential campaign has provided the first test of the Supreme Court’s “Citizens’ United” decision which allowed outside groups to spend millions on campaigns. While some decry their power, others say they represent free-and-democratic speech.  We’ll look at this issue and new information on who’s providing Super-Pac dollars.  

Guests

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