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NH CD1 Primary — Look Who’s Supporting Guinta

Rep. Frank Guinta

Rep. Frank Guinta

No surprise: in the wake of Rep. Frank Guinta’s agreement to pay a fine for federal election law violations, Dan Innis is expected to run for Congress again.

Party officials are supposed to stay neutral until after primary elections. At least that’s the way it used to be, back when politics was still about parties – and not about money.

But look at Frank Guinta’s first quarter FEC report. Looks like House GOP leadership has already staked out a position in this election.

  • Friends of [House Speaker] John Boehner: $2,000 contribution to Guinta for the 2016 primary election, another $2,000 for the 2016 general election – both contributions given on March 20, 2015.
  • The Freedom Project, John Boehner’s Leadership PAC: $5,000 contribution to Guinta for the 2016 primary, another $5,000 for the general election – both contributions given on March 20, 2015.
  • [House Majority Leader] Kevin McCarthy for Congress campaign committee: $2,000 contribution to Guinta for the 2016 primary election, another $2,000 for the 2016 general election – both contributions given on March 26, 2015.
  • Majority Committee PAC, Kevin McCarthy’s Leadership PAC: $5,000 contribution to Guinta for the 2016 primary, another $5,000 for the general election – both contributions given on March 26, 2015.
  • [House Majority Whip Steve] Scalise for Congress campaign committee: $2,000 contribution for the 2016 general election – given on March 27, 2015.
  • Eye of the Tiger PAC, Steve Scalise’s Leadership PAC: $5,000 contribution for the 2016 primary election – given on March 27, 2015.
  • CMR PAC, the Leadership PAC of House Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers: $2,500 for the 2016 primary election – given on March 31, 2015.
  • [Republican Policy Committee Chairman] Luke Messer for Congress campaign: $1,000 contribution for the 2016 primary – given on March 31, 2015.
  • Prosperity Action PAC, the Leadership PAC of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan: $5,000 for the 2016 primary election – given on March 26, 2015.

It was unanimous. Not a single member of House GOP Leadership failed to make a contribution to Frank Guinta – directly, through their PAC, or both – during the weeks immediately before Guinta agreed to pay his fine to the FEC. Contributions not just for the 2016 general election, but also for the 2016 primary – when Guinta would, presumably, be running against another Republican.

Gotta wonder how former NHGOP Finance Chair Dan Innis feels, about the fact that the entire House GOP Leadership has already contributed to his opponent in the race.

Read an insider’s take on Guinta’s Q1 fundraising here.

Read more about Guinta’s agreement with the FEC here.

FEC Documents Confirm Frank Guinta Continues To Be A “Damned Liar”

Guinta’s Mother and Sister Directly Contradict His Lies

FEC Voted 6-0 Against Guinta, Including All Three Republican Commissioners

UNION LEADER Editorial Image

UNION LEADER Editorial Image

Concord, N.H. – Today, documents released by the Federal Elections Commission confirmed that Frank Guinta continues to be a “damned liar.” All six FEC commissioners (including three Republicans) voted against Guinta.

Among the trove of documents released today by the FEC was the “Second General Counsel’s Report” from February 11, 2014, which confirmed that Virginia Guinta (Frank’s mother) and Christine Guinta (Frank’s sister) directly contradicted Frank’s lies:

Virginia Guinta confirmed her understanding that the loans would be repaid. Such an understanding is inconsistent with the proposition that Rep. Guinta and his parents understood that Rep. Guinta had a legal or equitable right to dispose of the funds as he wished… Similarly, Christine Guinta Raymond, Rep. Guinta’s sister, represented that she was unaware such a family pot existed, let alone that she or either of her brothers enjoyed a legal or equitable right to access those funds (“Second General Counsel’s Report, page 10).

“The FEC documents released today overwhelmingly confirm what we already knew, that Frank Guinta has been lying to the people of New Hampshire for five years,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Even Guinta’s own mother and sister made clear that the funds in question were not Frank’s, and that he did not have any ‘equitable interest’ to them. Furthermore, the documents show that Guinta’s scheme stretches all the way back to his mayoral elections. It is now clearer than ever that Guinta can’t regain the public’s trust and must resign.”

See below for key quotes from the FEC’s “Second General Counsel’s Report” on Frank Guinta’s lies:

We conducted an investigation to determine whether the funds Rep. Guinta contributed were the personal funds of the candidate. Substantial credible evidence indicates they were not. (Pages 1-2)

Despite our best efforts, we were unable to obtain voluntarily more than a partial production of the records we sought. (Page 4)

They cite as examples checks that his parents wrote payable to Rep. Guinta between 2001 and 2010 totaling at least $57,050 to pay for a variety of Rep. Guinta’s personal expenses, such as his mayoral campaign, his credit card bills, and his mortgages on two properties. (Page 6)

Our investigation uncovered no evidence supporting the Respondent’s theory that Rep. Guinta nonetheless held legal title to or an equitable interest in those funds. To the contrary, it remains undisputed that the funds in question were drawn from a bank account held in the names of Rep. Guinta’s parents, there is no documentary support for the proposition that. Rep. Guinta had a contractual or equitable right of access to those funds, and the accounts of witnesses with personal knowledge suggest that no such arrangement existed. (Page 8)

Rep. Guinta stated in his affidavit that he had a “specific commitment and pledge [ ] from [his] parents” that he would have access to the funds for his personal use. Rep. Guinta Aff. II 10.Respondents assert that the funds in the family pot were “regularly available” to Rep. Guinta and his siblings, and that “they regularly used the shared family resources for personal expenses.” RTB Resp. at 2-3. We are not aware of any document, however, reflecting the existence of any such alleged agreement or understanding between Rep. Guinta and his parents about his right to access funds in his parents’ accounts. Further, the available contemporaneous evidence tends to conflict with the claim that an agreement concerning family assets held in common existed, and statements of witnesses who would have personal knowledge of such an agreement conflict with the claim that Rep. Guinta and his siblings were equitably entitled to funds in a family pot of accounts held in his parents’ names. (Page 9)

Same question, different problem: WHERE did the money come from?

truth-257159_640It’s not just the questions about the Federal Elections Commission investigation and where the money came from.  It’s actually worse than that.  It’s what happened afterward – because like so much else in government these days, it involves political fundraising.

At the end of last year, Rep. Frank Guinta’s campaign reported less than $19,000 cash-on-hand.

Yet the FEC enforcement agreement signed by Guinta’s lawyer last month obligated the campaign to pay a $15,000 administrative fine and repay $355,000 in loans dating back to 2010. (Hat-tip to the Union Leader for posting the agreement online, where we can all read it.)

Like most Congressmen, Rep. Guinta is a practiced fundraiser.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Guinta raised about $4.5 million dollars during his last three campaigns.

And just in the first quarter of this year – presumably while his lawyer was negotiating the FEC settlementGuinta’s campaign raised more than $300,000.  

Koch Industries PAC gave $5,000.  The Chicago Board Options Exchange PAC gave $5,000.  Independent Insurance Agents PAC gave $5,000.  New York Life Insurance PAC gave $5,000.  National Beer Wholesalers PAC gave $5,000.  The Boeing Company PAC gave $1,000.  The Turkish Coalition PAC gave $1,000.

Jeb Bush’s brand-new “Right to Rise” SuperPAC gave $5,200 — before the PAC was even two months old.

The Leadership PAC affiliated with House Speaker John Boehner gave $5,000, and Boehner’s campaign committee gave another $4,000.  The Leadership PAC of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy gave $5,000; his campaign gave another $4,000.  Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Leadership PAC gave $5,000.  The Leadership PAC of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise gave $5,000.  The Leadership PAC of Oregon Rep. Greg Walden gave $5,000.  The Leadership PAC of Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling gave $5,000.  Ribble for Congress gave $1,000.  Latta for Congress gave $1,000.  Jeff Miller for Congress gave $1,000.  Andy Harris for Congress gave $1,000.  Rick Allen for Congress gave $1,000.  Friends of Sam Johnson gave $1,000.  Rep. John Kline’s Leadership PAC gave $1,000.  Rep. Steve Stivers’ Leadership PAC gave $1,000.  The Leadership PAC of Rep. John Shimkus gave $1,000.

And the list goes on, for almost 75 pages.

Sort of like “Go Fund Me” – except that the money is coming from special interests and Guinta’s fellow congressmen, who also have an interest in how he votes.

Given that list of donors, would Rep. Guinta consider fighting House Leadership over the latest raid on Medicare?  Or is he going to vote exactly how the Speaker wants him to?

What does Jeb Bush expect, in return for the SuperPAC contribution?

What does Koch Industries expect?  The Chicago options traders?  Boeing?  The Turkish Coalition?

And what can Guinta’s constituents expect, after the campaign solicited almost enough money to pay the cost of the FEC agreement?  

How many of these donors knew that the FEC agreement was coming?  

Solicit more campaign contributions, to meet the conditions of a campaign finance enforcement agreement.  It’s so ironic, it should be funny – except, it’s not.  It’s totally screwed up.

When politicians go begging to big money donors, everybody else loses.

That’s why two-thirds of New Hampshire voters want a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

It’s why hundreds of people have been walking across the state with the New Hampshire Rebellion, drawing attention to the need for campaign finance reform.

It’s why tens of thousands of people across the country are legally stamping US currency with messages like “Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians.” Every stamped dollar bill is seen by about 875 people.  Get a stamp at StampStampede.org.  Stamp four bills each day for a year, and you’ll help convince a million people that it is possible to take our government back – if enough of us work together to do that.

It’s why small businesses are hosting Stamp Stampede stamping stations – more than 100 of them across New Hampshire – so their customers can stamp money and learn more about money in politics.

It’s why grandmothers and middle school students and people from every political persuasion are working together to reclaim our government from Big Money campaign donors.

Because when you read about a FEC enforcement action, you shouldn’t have to wonder whose money will be used to pay the fine, and what they’re going to expect in return.

And you really shouldn’t have to worry whether all the fundraising that happened, just before the agreement was signed, is going to do more damage to our democracy than the original violation.

 

Warning: More Campaign Fundraising Ahead

warning extreme danger

Photo by Paul Klintworth via Flikr

Some thoughts on the news that Rep. Frank Guinta has reached an agreement with the Federal Elections Commission to pay a $15,000 fine and repay $355,000.

First thought: this is a really big deal. Fifteen thousand dollars is a pretty big fine for the FEC.  In fact, it’s apparently the 24th-biggest fine the FEC has issued since 2000.  It’s more than three times the fine for failing to return excess campaign contributions issued to the campaign committee for House Speaker John Boehner earlier this year.

Second thought: it’s a minor miracle this happened at all.  The FEC has been mired in partisan gridlock for a long time now.  As FEC Chairwoman Ann Ravel told the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, “The likelihood of the laws being enforced is slim.”  FEC fines are at record lows.  If the FEC was able to agree on this enforcement action, that says something about how serious it was.

Third thought: repay $355,000?  How?   According to the *ahem* latest FEC report, Guinta’s campaign only has $312,432 cash on hand.  Which – I’m just guessing here – probably means the campaign is going to have to do some fundraising.

Fourth thought: the FEC itself has some real transparency issues.  I spent quite a while trying to find this enforcement agreement on the FEC website – and never found it.  I would have expected that large a fine would have merited a press release, but apparently I was wrong.

Fifth thought: does Guinta’s campaign even care about federal campaign laws?  Earlier this year, news broke that Guinta’s campaign was in trouble with the FEC over 2014 campaign violations.  Put this in context: even while the campaign committee was under FEC investigation, it didn’t pay close attention to the laws.  That’s sort of like running a red light when you know there’s a police car pursuing you for speeding.  Who does that?  And, what does it say about respect for the laws?

———-

A few other random thoughts:

Congratulations to the citizens of Newport!  Yesterday, Newport became the 69th New Hampshire municipality to pass a local resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and limit #MoneyInPolitics.   (See the complete list here.)  Special recognition to Robert Seavey and Robert Naylor for their work on the resolution.

If your town isn’t on that list – and you want it to be – click here for more information about how to pass a local resolution to #GetMoneyOut of politics.

Did you think 2012 was bad?  This presidential election is shaping up to be a real doozy.  In January, The Hill was predicting that the 2016 elections would cost about $5 billion (with a B) – or, about twice what was spent on the 2012 election.  Now they’re guessing it will be $10 billion (with a B).  How high will it go?  Nobody knows.

Worth reading: Why are Corporate Lobbyists the Only Ones Heard?  “Corporations and organizations representing corporations spent $2.6 billion on lobbying last year and labor unions spent $45 million.”  That’s almost a 60-to-one spending ratio.  When it came time to issue regulations to prevent another Wall Street meltdown, “among the lobbyists who had contacted the agencies, 78.2 percent represented financial institutions, 7.9 percent were law firms representing financial institutions, and 7.2 percent were financial trade association. Only 4.1 percent represented public interest and labor groups.”

I’m feeling old this morning.  I’ve been working on #MoneyInPolitics since the 1980s, when we were all concerned about PACs.  That seems positively quaint, in retrospect.

A quick trip down memory lane: 1984 was the first year that any presidential candidate raised the maximum contributions under the public financing system spending limits.  That candidate was Ronald Reagan.   That amount was about $10 million (with an M).  The spending limit was $20.2 million (with an M).

Lessee.  Accounting for inflation, that campaign spending limit that Ronald Reagan agreed to would be equal to about $46 million in today’s dollars.

And yes, that sea change in campaign spending is why “The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country’s citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful.”

There is some light on the horizon.  People around the country are working toward a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United – and there has been a lot of progress made in a remarkably short time (particularly given the resistance from federal elected officials).

There are a whole lot of groups working on this.

And people are even having fun doing it.  Watch this, from the “1% News Network”:

An organizing pitch: these days, I’m working for the Stamp Stampede — and I hope you will join us in our campaign to help #StampMoneyOut of politics.

The Stamp Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.

You can get your own stamp online at www.stampstampede.org. Or, if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. The average stamped bill is seen by 875 people – which makes stamping a highly-effective way to get the message out about how money in politics is corrupting our government.

It’s time to #GetMoneyOut of politics and take back our government.  Join the #MoveToAmend!

Congressman Frank Guinta Caught Lying About Campaign Contributions 

EXPLOSIVE WMUR Report Exposes Frank Guinta’s Lies: Guinta Ordered To Repay Over $350,000 In Illegal Campaign Contributions

FEC Investigation Confirms Frank Guinta Repeatedly Lied To Granite Staters For Nearly Five Years

 
Concord, N.H. – An explosive report from WMUR revealed that a Federal Election Commission (FEC) investigation found that Frank Guinta has repeatedly lied to the people of New Hampshire about funneling more than $350,000 in illegal contributions to his campaign.
  
“For nearly five years, Frank Guinta has repeatedly lied to the people of New Hampshire about funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions to his campaign,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “The FEC has now definitively confirmed that Guinta not only violated campaign finance laws, but also that he deliberately violated the public’s trust. This is truly conduct unbefitting of a United States Congressman.”
 
According to WMUR’s report:
 
“For five years, Guinta has remained steadfast that he did nothing wrong. On Tuesday, News 9 obtained the conciliation agreement that states:
 
‘Between June of 2009 and September of 2010, Guinta received $381,000 in the form of checks made payable to him, drawn from accounts held in Guinta’s parents’ names, to which Guinta contends he had an equitable interest.’
 
The agreement goes on to say that Guinta used that money to make $355,000 in loans to his campaign committee. It also says that Guinta’s campaign ‘accepted excessive contributions as a result in a violation’ of FEC rules.
 
To resolve the complaint, Guinta’s campaign committee has agreed to pay back $355,000 within 12 months and pay a $15,000 fine.”
 
FRANK GUINTA REPEATEDLY LIED TO PUBLIC ABOUT FUNNELING MORE THAN $350,000 IN ILLEGAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO HIS CAMPAIGN
 
Campaign Manager: “Guinta Merely Has Liquidated Some Of His Stock Market And Mutual Fund Assets”
In July 2010, “Campaign manager Michael Biundo said Guinta merely has liquidated some of his stock market and mutual fund assets, and that there’s more where that comes from. ‘He’s not a wealthy man, but has resources beyond that which he has already contributed to the campaign,’’ Biundo said. ‘Those are personal loans without collateral for which he expects to get back in repayment.’” [Nashua Telegraph, 7/11/10]
 
Guinta: “I Have Complied With Every FEC Requirement.”
In August 2010, Guinta told the Nashua Telegraph, “I have complied with every FEC requirement. And I’m not going to let an allegation by Fergus Cullen that’s based on opinion dictate releasing personal information beyond what the FEC is asking me to do.” [Nashua Telegraph, 8/24/10]
 
WMUR: “[Guinta] Pledged… That He Didn’t Receive The Money From Family Or Friends”
In October 2010, WMUR’s James Pindell reported, Guinta “pledged that he earned every cent he gave his campaign, and that he didn’t receive the money from family or friends or anyone who wanted to buy influence.” [WMUR, 10/13/10]
 
Union Leader: “Guinta Denies He Got Big Money From His Parents”
In October 2010, the Union Leader reported, “Republican Frank Guinta yesterday denied accepting money from his parents to help finance his 1st District U.S. House campaign and said Carol Shea-Porter and the Democratic Party have stooped to a ‘new low’ for implying that he did.” [Union Leader, 10/14/10]
 
Asked If He Used His Parents’ Money, Guinta Said, “The Answer Is No”
“Guinta told the Granite Status later yesterday he did not accept his parents’ money and that he and his wife had saved up the money themselves. ‘To answer that directly,’ he said of the questions about using his parents’ money, ‘the answer is no.’” [Union Leader, 10/14/10]
 
Guinta: “My Wife And I Have Been In The Workforce For Nearly 20 Years… Over Years Of Time, We Have Been Able To Put This Money Together.”
“It’s no different than what I’ve been telling people for the last several months. My wife and I have been in the workforce for nearly 20 years. I have been in the private sector. I’ve been fortunate to make money also in the markets. Over years of time, we have been able to put this money together.” [Union Leader, 10/14/10]
 
AP: “Guinta Himself Has Insisted The Money Was Not An Illegal Campaign Donation”
In October 2010, the Associated Press reported, “Guinta himself has insisted the money was not an illegal campaign donation. ‘For approximately 20 years prior to my service as mayor, my wife and I both worked in the private sector. I’m proud of the fact that we were both successful,’ Guinta said during a debate. ‘I’m standing on principle. I don’t think it’s necessary to actually open up my bank statements to every single person, and if you don’t like that answer, that is your prerogative.’” [Associated Press, 10/29/10]
 
Guinta: “The FEC… Said That I Was Exonerated, That I Was In Full Compliance”
In WMUR’s 2014 CD1 debate, Guinta said, “The FEC, in December of 2010, a month after the election, and before I was even sworn into office said that I was exonerated, that I was in full compliance… You’re lying about my record, and I think people in New Hampshire ought to know the truth.” [WMUR, 10/27/1
4]

Letter To The Editor: The Shadows that Follow Congressman Guinta

Reference Election 2014, the Associated Press (AP) just reported that Congressman Guinta has new problems. “U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta is once again on the radar of the Federal Election Commission for failing to follow campaign finance disclosure rules.”

And last fall, candidate Guinta stated in a political ad that Carol Shea-Porter was lying, that he was “100 percent” cleared of violating campaign finance laws by the House Ethics Committee, and then stated in a debate the Federal Election Commission (FEC) had cleared him. Why did he name two different agencies? Knowing a Republican and the NH Democratic Party had both filed complaints with the FEC, not the House Ethics Committee, I called both agencies. The House Press Office found no evidence of a complaint being filed against Guinta.  As to the FEC complaint, Judith Ingram, FEC Press Officer reported :

“The Commission did receive one more complaint in which Mr. Guinta was a respondent and the N.H. Democratic Party was a complainant. Unfortunately, we cannot provide any information about that complaint. To protect the interests of those involved in a complaint, the law requires that any Commission action on a MUR be kept strictly confidential until the case is resolved. 2 U.S.C. § 437g (a)(12).”

As to this charge, AP confirmed “…four years later, the complaint is still under investigation,” and that Guinta refused comment.

Since the FEC investigation remains open, Mr. Guinta’s statements cannot be true.   The public expects the truth from Congressman Guinta, and a final report from the FEC.

Bob Perry

Strafford

If you would like to join the petition calling on the FEC to investigate Congressman Frank Guinta click here.

You Will Not Believe What Wal-Mart is Doing

Image via WikiCommons

Image via WikiCommons

You have got to be kidding me.  

Wal-Mart is rewarding associates who donate money to the Wal-Mart PAC, which works to elect candidates like Speaker John Boehner and Senator Ted Cruz who vehemently oppose raising the minimum wage.

In this excellent article (Wal-Mart’s Unusual Rewards for Employees Who Give to Its PAC) by Josh Eidelson, he reports:

“Liberal groups and a union-backed Walmart worker group are asking the Federal Election Commission to investigate Wal-Mart Stores’ (WMT) policy of rewarding contributions to its political action committee with donations to charity. Under the policy, every $1 an employee donates to Wal-Mart’s PAC, which supports such probusiness candidates as Ohio Republican House Speaker John Boehner, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, and Arkansas Democratic Senator Mark Pryor, triggers a $2 donation to a charity for Wal-Mart employees in need.”

Using charitable contributions to reward PAC donations has become a widespread practice among U.S. corporations, which are restricted by law from donating directly to their PACs. At least seven times over the past two decades, FEC commissioners have been divided over whether to restrict companies from matching the political donations with philanthropic cash.

While such companies as Coca-Cola (KO) and Boeing (BA) also match PAC dollars with charity dollars, Wal-Mart’s policy is unusual. Rather than just a 1-to-1 match, it offers 2 to 1. And instead of giving employees a choice of charities to support, it sends all the matching money to its Associates in Critical Need Trust, which benefit employees facing “extreme economic hardship due to situations outside of their control, including natural disasters.”

That’s right, for every one dollar that workers give to the Wal-Mart PAC, the corporation will donate two dollars to their own charity organization for workers who are suffering financial difficulties.

The Associates in Critical Need Trust is a 501 (c)(3) charity that provides “up to $1,500 to employees facing challenges such as homelessness or illness.”

Here are three suggestions for Walmart. 1) Start by paying your workers a living wage so they aren’t forced into homelessness. 2) Provide workers with paid sick time so they can heal without the fear of losing their job for being sick. 3)  Provide workers with healthcare so they will not be forced into financial ruin when they become sick or injured. (Note: Wal-Mart just cut another 30,000 part time workers out of their employee healthcare, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act they can get coverage through their state exchange.)

I hope the FEC tears Wal-Mart apart for violating the Federal Election Campaign Act.

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