Concord, N.H. – Republicans in the legislature are trying to cover up Kelly Ayotte’s political meddling in New Hampshire’s budget, refusing to release any records in response to the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s Right To Know request concerning Ayotte’s interference in the budget process.
See coverage roundup below:
Union Leader: House and Senate deny Democrats’ right-to-know request for records
Citing a 2011 opinion by then-Attorney General Michael Delaney, the House and Senate declined to release information sought by the state Democratic Party on budget decisions.
Democrats sought information that State Party Chairman Raymond Buckley claimed would show that U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte interfered in the state budget process in order to inflict political damage on Gov. Maggie Hassan, a potential challenger to Ayotte for the U.S. Senate seat next year.
Buckley sought phone, email and calendar records of GOP House and Senate leaders and their staff.
But Senate Legal Counsel Richard Lehmann, writing for both the House and Senate, said in Delaney’s 2011 opinion he declined to open “legislative and staff emails to unfettered public access.”
… Democratic officials said Republican legislators are disregarding the constitution to protect Ayotte in denying their right-to-know request.
“It’s disturbing that Republicans in the legislature are willing to completely disregard New Hampshire’s constitutional requirement of transparency in order to cover up the efforts of Kelly Ayotte and her allies to politically meddle with the state’s budget at the expense of New Hampshire’s people, businesses, and economy,” said state Democratic Party press secretary Aaron Jacobs. “Regardless of who runs against Kelly Ayotte, it’s wrong that Ayotte’s allies clearly have been pushing the state legislature to politicize the budget process in a desperate attempt to rescue her vulnerable re-election prospects. Legislative leadership should release this information immediately.” [Full story]
WMUR: State Senate legal counsel denies Democrats’ request for communications records
The legal counsel for the Republican-controlled state Senate declinedTuesday to turn over to the state Democratic Party individual lawmakers’ and legislative staffers’ emails, citing an opinion by the state attorney general.
Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley last week submitted a right-to-know request to state Senate President Chuck Morse seeking “all communications records of yours, your staff or the Senator Leadership Office” with U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, her official staff, campaign staff and any paid consultants.
Buckley charged that Ayotte’s “political operation” meddled in the state budget process in an attempt to cause gridlock at the State House “with the goal of scoring political points” against Gov. Maggie Hassan, who has been mentioned as a possible Ayotte opponent in her 2016 re-election bid. [Full story]
NH1: Landrigan: NH Senate lawyer rejects bid to disclose individual emails, calls, calendars of GOP senators
The State Senate’s lawyer ruled the New Hampshire Democratic Party has no legal access to emails, telephone calls or calendars of GOP senators to see whether Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, meddled in their feud with Gov. Maggie Hassan over the state budget.
… A Democratic Party spokesman said legislative leaders should give up the records in the interest of transparency.
“Regardless of who runs against Kelly Ayotte, it’s wrong that Ayotte’s allies clearly have been pushing the state legislature to politicize the budget process in a desperate attempt to rescue her vulnerable re-election prospects,’’ Press Secretary Aaron Jacobs said.
“Legislative leadership should release this information immediately.’’ [Full story]