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NH Pushes Legislation To Limit Big Money In Politics

Overwhelming Cross-Partisan Majorities Believe Big Money in NH Elections is A Problem

Majority Support “Civic Dollars” Solution

CONCORD, NH — A survey of New Hampshire voters has found that large majorities in both parties believe big money is a problem in state elections, and support a current legislative proposal to fix it.

In the survey just released by Public Policy Polling, eight in 10 voters — including  79% of Democrats, 74% of Republicans and 85% of Independents — said they believe big money is a problem in Granite State elections.

House Bill 1773 would provide voters with four $25 “civic dollars” to donate to candidates for Governor, Executive Council and state Senate who pledge to limit their maximum donation from private donors to $250. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Renny Cushing, also includes other reforms, including stronger requirements to ensure financial transparency of SuperPACs and candidate campaigns, and tougher enforcement of campaign finance laws.

The House Election Law Committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill for January 16 at  10:50 a.m.

When the Civic Dollars proposal was described to the survey’s respondents, 60% said they would support it, including 64% of Democrats and 67% of independent voters. A majority of Democrats (71%) and Republicans (59%) also said they’d be more likely to support a Civic Dollars candidate who limits individual donations to $250 than a candidate who accepts donations up to $7,000.

“Civic Dollars will give New Hampshire voters a stronger voice,” said Olivia Zink, Executive Director of Open Democracy in Concord. “Our elected officials should work for all of their  constituents, not just for the big contributors who put them in office.”

“My lengthy and varied experience in New Hampshire election campaigns has convinced me of the need for a public election financing system as a voluntary alternative for candidates,” former state Senator Jim Rubens said in prepared testimony. “The present purely-private elections finance system seriously restricts participation by otherwise viable candidates for governor, councilor and state senate and narrows the range of debate and policy proposals during campaigns.  The result is fewer choices for voters among candidates and slower progress in solving public policy challenges.  Additionally, the current purely-private system tilts influence away from voters and toward those with money to spend on campaigns.”  Rubens has also served as chair of the GOP platform committee; chair of the 2000 GOP redistricting committee; and on two election finance panels which proposed public election finance legislation.  As candidate for US Senate, he proposed voter tax rebates as a means to provide public finance mechanism for Congressional elections.

Other key findings from the survey include:

•    A majority of respondents (63%) would be likely to contribute their Civic Dollars to qualified candidates, including 70% of Democrats, 54% of Republicans and 67% of Independents.

•    38% of respondents said they were even more likely to support the Civic Dollars program after learning that it would cost less than 1% of the New Hampshire state budget.

•    A plurality of respondents (34%) — including 37% of Democrats, 33% of Republicans and 34% of Independents — think wealthy campaign donors have the most influence in New Hampshire politics. Only 14% said they believe that N.H. voters have the most influence.

See Who Voted For A More Open Democracy In NH

Legislative Scorecard Released: Who voted for, and against, open democracy 

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire legislature failed to pass several bills during its just-concluded session that would have taken strong steps toward returning the state’s government to the people it is obligated to represent, according to an open-government watchdog group.

A legislative scorecard released by the nonprofit Open Democracy Action (ODA) tracked votes on nine bills that would have closed campaign-spending loopholes, strengthened enforcement of existing spending laws, ended the practice of gerrymandering, and encouraged every legal voter to exercise their democratic right.

Only one of the election reform bills was successful, a House referendum calling on Congress to consider an amendment to the US Constitution prohibiting campaign contributions from donors who aren’t eligible to vote in that federal election. Two other bills were retained, meaning they can still be acted upon.

Seventy-four legislators—eight in the senate and 68 in the House—had perfect voting records on the reform bills. Eighty-four—all in the House—received scores of zero for voting against all of ODA’s recommended bills (or failing to vote).

“It’s clear that New Hampshire’s elected officials are out of step with voters, who want to reduce the influence of money in politics and want to make it easier for every citizen to vote,” said ODA chair Rick Bourdon.

“It’s one thing for candidates to declare that they believe in open democracy and stand for political equality, quite another for office holders to vote in ways that move us in that direction,” Bourdon said.

The 2017 scorecard, available at www.opendemocracyaction.org/scorecards, is the first of what ODA says will become annual reports distributed across the state.

The two bills that were retained would close a loophole that allows independent spending groups to avoid registering with the state and filing expenditure reports, and appropriate $200,000 to enforce election and lobbying laws.

Celebration of Doris Granny D Haddock’s Birth 107 Years Ago

Dublin, NH: Open Democracy/New Hampshire Rebellion and PACE: Promoting Active Civic Engagement announce that on January 24, 2017 they will hold a celebration of Doris Granny D Haddock’s birthday 107 years ago. Granny D gained fame and admiration by walking across the United States in her 90th year in support of  campaign finance reform. Subsequently she travelled the country to help countless citizens to register to vote. For her activism she received many awards in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

“In the present turbulent times it helps to take a deep breath and remind ourselves of an intrepid citizen like Doris Haddock, who was willing to use her ‘power of one’ in the fight for the health of our democracy”, said Regina Bringolf, co-chair of Open Democracy.

The celebration on January 24 will be held at 12 noon at the Dublin Community Center, 1123 Main Street in Dublin, NH.  The public is cordially invited. There will be a potluck luncheon (please bring a small dish to share) and remembrances of Granny D’s walks and others, organized by the NH Rebellion, that her friends and supporters have undertaken in her memory. RSVP requested to Doreen@opendemocracy.me, or call 603-715-8197.

Nuns on the Bus Stop in Concord for Rally to “Mend the Gaps”

2016-07-22 Nuns on the Bus Sr Simone Campbell

Sr. Simone Campbell addresses the crowd, while some of the Nuns on the Bus take shelter from the heat under umbrellas.

About 125 Granite Staters braved today’s heat to meet Sister Simone Campbell and the Nuns on the Bus at a State House rally to “Mend the Gaps” between us that weaken society, including gaps in income, healthcare, housing and access to democracy.

Campbell and nearly 20 Catholic sisters from around the country are visiting 13 states and both major party conventions on a tour that began July 11.  The tour’s goal is “to bring a politics of inclusion to divided places, change the conversation to mending the vast economic and social divides in our country, and counter political incivility with our message of inclusion.  NETWORK’s 44 year-old faith-filled political message is an alternative to the anger, fear, and polarization of this election cycle.  We believe in faithful citizenship, which compels us to travel the country to listen to the lived experiences of people in their communities and hold elected officials accountable to the promises they have made to legislate for the common good.”

The sisters are caucusing with local advocates in Manchester tonight, and will hold a rally in Boston tomorrow starting at 10:00 am on the front lawn of Boston College High School, 150 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125.  The full tour schedule is available at www.nunsonthebus.org.

At today’s rally, the sisters distributed brochures comparing candidates’ positions on “Mending the Gaps.”  Download the brochure comparing Kelly Ayotte with Maggie Hassan here and the brochure comparing Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump here.

Granite Staters shared their stories about the growing gaps in our economy which are making the American dream unattainable for too many families.

  • Jazmine Langley and Olivia Zink of Open Democracy signed the Bus before it left Concord, on the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

    Jazmine Langley, a Democracy Fellow with Open Democracy/NH, spoke about the challenges facing her as a biracial woman. “I have seen oppression up close. I have witnessed the gaps woven into the fabric of our country that are very much racially and socioeconomically based. From drug addiction to poverty. From police brutality to mass imprisonment. From strict voter ID laws to felon disenfranchisement. Our elected representatives and ourselves need to be held accountable for mending this gap. Whether that is by trying to spark legal reform in getting big money out politics, registering more voters, or fighting voter suppression laws, doing non-profit work dedicated to some aspect of this issue, or just educating yourselves, families, friends, and children about the issue at hand – it all makes a difference. This is our democracy, so this is our fight!”  You can watch Jazmine’s speech here.

  • Amy Shaw, a mother of two living in Rochester spoke about the challenge of finding affordable childcare. “Even with both my husband and I working, we couldn’t afford to send our kids to daycare. I had to quit my job because my monthly income wasn’t going to cover my childcare costs.” Watch Amy’s remarks here.
  • Jen Cole, of Pittsfield, said “Low wages make it challenging to pay the bills week to week but nearly impossible when life throws you a curveball. My husband was diagnosed with cancer four years ago and could not work for several months. We had to survive off of my income and rely on family and friends to help us through what was already a difficult time. If someone is working full time they should be able to make ends meet and not have to fear they’ll lose everything if they get sick.”
  • Sister Eileen Brady, of Nashua, is a Social Worker and Advocate at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter. As a Sister of Mercy, she has been a staunch advocate for peace and justice for decades.  “The Sisters of Mercy have been trying to ‘Mend the Gaps’ since 1858,” Sister Eileen said.  She shared stories of people she has met through the Nashua Soup Kitchen, “My friends who have no place to live tonight.”  You can watch her remarks here.

“Pope Francis challenges all people to come together to work for the common good,” said Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, which launched the first Nuns on the Bus tour during the 2012 presidential campaign. “On our journey as Nuns on the Bus we will talk to those Pope Francis voters and, hopefully, inspire them to make mending the gaps the defining issue of the 2016 election.”

2016-07-22 Nuns on the Bus crowd2

Part of today’s crowd on the State House lawn.

“Every New Hampshire family deserves a fair shot at the American dream but rising costs, stagnant wages and unfair workplace policies are putting that dream out of reach for too many working people,” said Amanda Sears, director of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, a co-sponsor of the Concord rally.  “The visit from the Nuns on the Bus today highlights the need for family friendly policy solutions that lift workers and make our communities stronger.”

Today’s program was emceed by Gail Kenney of the United Church of Christ Economic Justice Mission Group.  Jack Bopp and Arnie Alpert led everyone in a rousing rendition of “We’re All Riding with the Nuns on The Bus.”  Opening prayers were offered by Rev. Gary M. Schulte, the Conference Minister of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ, and Woullard Lett, president of the Manchester, NH branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Today’s rally was cosponsored by organizations including AFSC’s NH Program, NH Voices of Faith, Granite State Organizing Project, United Church of Christ Economic Justice Ministry, NH Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, NH Sisters of Mercy, and Stamp Stampede.

 

 

 

NH Rebellion Calls on Trump to Make Good on his Statements and Release a Campaign Finance Reform Agenda

Image by Gage Skidmore

Image by Gage Skidmore

Welcoming Donald Trump back to the Granite State today, one day after his latest statement in favor of campaign finance reform, the grassroots organization NH Rebellion called on the businessman to get specific about how he plans to fix America’s broken political system.

“Mr. Trump started his presidential campaign by talking about how our politicians ‘are controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors and by the special interests’ – that’s a direct quote from his announcement speech,” said NH Rebellion Executive Director Dan Weeks.

“He has talked a lot about the issue throughout his campaign. It seems to be part of Mr. Trump’s stump speech, and it really resonates with the voters,” Weeks observed.  “Just yesterday, he was on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ saying he supports campaign finance reform.”

“Now, we’re calling on him to put some action behind his comments – to not just keep talking about the problem, but also to tell us exactly what he’s going to do to fix it,” Weeks said.

The Rebellion is promoting its “We the People” Pledge to #FightBigMoney, which includes six bipartisan solutions to the problem of donor influence.   Solutions in the Pledge include: full disclosure of secret donors; banning SuperPACs and overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling; small-donor citizen funding of elections; limiting undue influence from lobbyists and government contractors; ending gerrymandering and modernizing voter registration; and fully enforcing campaign finance laws.  (Take the Pledge yourself here!)

Over the last year, NH Rebellion activists have questioned the presidential candidates hundreds of times to demand their support of the “We the People” pledge, and won commitments from all three Democratic candidates. Republican candidates, including Donald Trump, have voiced broad support for portions of the Pledge, and the group is actively seeking specific commitments ahead of the New Hampshire primary.  A full review of candidates’ statements, including videos taken by activists as Town Hall forums can be found at www.questionR.us

“We were glad to hear Mr. Trump disavowing SuperPACS last October,” Weeks said.  “We were happy to hear, in his media statement, that he himself ‘will not be controlled by the donors, special interests and lobbyists who have corrupted our politics and politicians for far too long.’  But he still hasn’t explained how he would fix things, other than having candidates self-fund their own campaigns like he does.”

“I am sure Mr. Trump has a plan to solve this problem, some solution other than only allowing rich people to run for president,” Weeks said.  “We are calling on him to use his visit to Concord today to announce some specifics of his plan.”

————

nh_rebellionThe NH Rebellion is a cross-partisan movement drawing attention to the issue of money in politics.  The group was inspired by the legendary “Granny D,” who walked across America to raise support for the campaign finance efforts of Sen. John McCain and Sen. Russ Feingold.  To date, about 2,000 members of the Rebellion have walked a total of more than 30,000 miles, through all kinds of weather, raising awareness about big money in politics.  www.nhrebellion.org

Upcoming events include:

Wednesday, January 20th starting at 6:00 pm in the Aldermanic Chambers of Manchester City Hall: “Faithful Democracy,” a panel discussion of faith leaders including Sr. Simone Campbell of NETWORK/Nuns on the Bus and Patrick Carolan of the Franciscan Action Network.

Thursday, January 21st starting at 10:00 am in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building in Concord: press conference commemorating the sixth anniversary of Citizens United, about reform efforts in the context of the presidential campaign.  Followed by a full day of actions held in conjunction with the US Rebel Alliance, a non-partisan group using the cultural energy of Star Wars to fight political inequality. www.usrebelalliance.org

February 5 – 7, in Veterans Park, Manchester: “We the People Convention” featuring presidential candidates, national reform leaders and entertainers, educational and artistic programming in a huge heated tent.  http://www.nhrebellion.org/convention

NH House Votes to Pass, then Kill, Bipartisan Bill to Fight Big Money in Politics

money-in-politicsBill to Overturn Citizens United Blocked, Despite
Thousands of Citizen Calls to Legislators

New Hampshire reformers won a major bipartisan victory today when the NH House voted 156-152 to pass SB 136, a bill calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited spending in elections.  The vote, which followed a unanimous NH Senate approval of the bill last March, would have made New Hampshire the 17th state – and the first with Republican majorities – to officially take a stand against Citizens United.

That vote, however, was quickly reversed through a highly irregular process in a reconsideration vote.

Open Democracy Executive Director Dan Weeks said his organization is investigating the circumstances and urged reporters and concerned citizens to do the same.  The Legislature’s website does not include the original roll call vote to pass the bill; so at this point, citizens are not able to see which Representatives switched their votes on the measure.

The House consideration of the bill was marred by an apparent failure of legislators’ voting machines.  At one point, it was reported that the voting machines showed 24 members as present when they were not in the room; and Representatives were forced to vote verbally, one by one.

“New Hampshire citizens are frankly disgusted with the amount of special interest money flooding our elections, and SB 136 was an important first step in addressing that problem,” Weeks said.  “We need to protect the First Amendment rights of ordinary Americans to speak and be heard.  As things stand now, citizens are being shouted down by big spenders with an agenda of their own.” 

“Today our elected officials failed to represent the 72 percent of Granite Staters who oppose the Citizens United decision,” said Lindsay Jakows, New Hampshire Campaign Organizer with People For the American Way (PFAW). “Instead, opponents of the measure used extraordinary procedural tactics to kill the bill after it had already passed. This was a miscarriage of democracy. But make no mistake: Granite Staters are paying attention, and care deeply about this issue. On Election Day, voters will remember which representatives stood on the side of reform and which stood on the side of wealthy special interests.” 

According to the Open Democracy Index, released by Open Democracy in July 2015, $106 million was spent in New Hampshire during the 2014 elections by candidates, parties, and third-party groups – the highest level of election spending in state history.  That political spending equaled more than $200 per vote cast.

More than half of the total spending came from so-called “independent” groups, with the majority of their funding coming from out-of-state and/or undisclosed sources, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.  New Hampshire’s 2014 U.S. Senate contest also ranked as the most negative race in the country with over 90 percent of all television ads characterized as attacks.

Support for overturning decisions like Citizens United is strong both in New Hampshire and across the country. Local activism has pushed 69 towns in New Hampshire to pass resolutions in support of an amendment, more than a dozen of which passed in 2015 alone. Sixteen other states have already officially called for an amendment. A national Bloomberg Politics poll released in September found that 78 percent of Americans believe the Citizens United decision should be overturned. Concern about political spending crosses party lines, with 96% of New Hampshire residents believing that money has too much influence over politics.

Members of the Open Democracy Advisory Board John Broderick and Brad Cook, the former NH Chief Justice and Republican Chairman of the Election Law Commission, respectively, had urged the House to pass SB 136.  “Although we may not agree on some issues, we both believe there is nothing more destructive of good politics and good policy than secret special interest money in elections,” Broderick and Cook wrote. “Left unchecked, it will consume our electoral process and silence the voice of the people.”

As evidence of their frustration with the “big money” status quo, thousands of Granite Staters have walked 30,000 miles collectively throughout New Hampshire as part of Open Democracy’s NH Rebellion campaign.  The Rebellion activists and allied groups are also challenging the presidential candidates to support systemic campaign finance reform during the state’s first-in-the-national primary.

Leaders of New Hampshire’s Faith Community are holding a panel discussion on the issue on Wednesday, January 20th at 6:00 pm at Manchester City Hall.  Speakers include Sr. Simone Campbell of NETWORK/Nuns on the Bus and Karenna Gore for the Center for Earth Ethics.

Faithful Democracy: How The Faith Community Can Help #GetTheMoneyOut Of Politics

How can the Faith Community help get money out of politics?  That question sounds like we’re listening to the Prayers each day of concerned Americans.  But the fact is it’s time to continue praying and to start working towards a better system to help a create a better bipartisan approach in Washington.

Ever since the Citizens United ruling “independent spending” has soared.  Here in the Granite State we see the results each and just about every time we turn on the television or have the radio on and let’s not even think about the Internet ads.  The worst thing of all this is that it’s not just every four years anymore.  But now the ads seem too never end.

More often than no it appears that money to campaigns speaks louder than the voice of a working family, or of the under-employed in our communities.

On Wednesday January 20th from 6-8pm at the Manchester Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall there will be Faithful Democracy Event featuring:Sr. Simone Campbell the Exec. Director of NETWORK and the Organizer of the Nuns on the Bus Tours across the United States, as well as Karenna Gore Director of the Center for Earth Ethics. (Yes, the daughter of Al and Tipper Gore)

Please came as a member of Labor in the Pews and join us for this discussion on a serious and moral problem and join us  in this cause.

I’m proud to be the son a of a Teamster and grateful for having been given a award from the NH AFL-CIO for working on Social Justice.

Br. Paul Crawford, OFM Cap.

Capuchin Franciscan Community

St. Anne – St. Augustin

Manchester, NH

IMG_8229

NH Campaign Finance Groups Urge House Passage of SB 136 Citizens United Bill in Wednesday Vote

(FLICKR LIght Brigading

(FLICKR Light Brigading)

CONCORD –  During the Shaheen – Brown Senate race,  outside spending amounted to an astounding $100.00 per vote cast, and with another U.S. Senate seat in contention this year, even more out-of-state money will flood into New Hampshire.   This is just one example of how the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has changed the landscape of American politics, and why NH democracy and campaign finance groups are urging legislators to take a stand to end the influence that comes with the millions of dollars of donations.

This Wednesday, New Hampshire House members are faced with a taking a small step toward controlling that spending as they consider SB136.    The bill acknowledges that something needs to be done about the unlimited spending the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision unleashed and creates a committee to come up with options to fight it at the state level.  One option may be becoming the seventeenth state to call for a Constitution amendment to overturn Citizens United.  

The bill passed the NH Senate in 2015 in a unanimous vote after a bipartisan compromise, but in a partisan vote, the Legislative Administration committee voted to kill the bill, recommending interim study this past fall.    As the bill enters the full House, proponents of the bill are optimistic that the bill’s recommendation may be overridden and the bill approved.  

“We were incredibly disappointed in the House Legislative Administration Committee’s recommendation this past October to essentially bury the bill quietly through interim study,” said Lindsay Jakows, New Hampshire Campaign Organizer with People For the American Way. “Our elected officials now have a responsibility to represent the majority of Granite Staters who support overturning cases like Citizens United by voting no on interim study and yes on ought to pass,”  she said.

The committee created in SB136 would be responsible for “Recognizing the need for a United States Constitutional Amendment to address the Citizens United ruling and related cases, that protects New Hampshire’s ability to make its own laws regarding campaign finance while protecting the First Amendment,” it states.  It would examine the impact of the Citizens United ruling and related cases on New Hampshire elections, such as the recent U.S. Senate race where $64 million was spent, most of which came from outside Super PACs.  The committee would also examine different approaches and language being proposed by the United States Congress for a constitutional amendment, and possible short term solutions.

“A recent Bloomberg poll has Republican support to overturn Citizens United at 80%, and Democratic support at 83%,” said Brian Beihl, deputy director of Open Democracy, one of the groups supporting the bill.   “Plus, 69 New Hampshire towns have now passed a warrant article resolution at town meeting, and another 35 towns are working on initiatives for this spring’s town meetings.   Voters are getting angry and taking matters into their own hands because they don’t see action on either the state or federal level,” Beihl said.

The movement to overturn Citizens United now has 16 other states which have already recommended repeal, and over 5 million signatures have been collected on nationwide petitions.    Including New Hampshire’s 69 towns, 674 local municipalities nationally that have also called for an amendment.     With its position in the presidential campaign, passage of SB136 will be important on the national stage as well.  

“SB136 was passed by the Senate as a bipartisan bill,” said Jonah Minkoff-Zern, co-director of Public Citizen, another group advocating for campaign finance reforms addressing Citizens United.  “If legislators are listening to their constituents, they will vote down this ‘interim study’ recommendation, and do the right thing by voting ‘ought to pass,’ Minkoff-Zern said.  “New Hampshire voters should call their representatives and encourage them to do the right thing and approve SB136,” he said.

The vote takes place in the State House on Wednesday, along with other 2015 bills retained from last year.   Proponents of SB136 will be gathering at the second-floor ramp at 8:30 to greet legislators.   More information is available at 603-620-8300.


Text of SB 136 at the NH General Court website:   http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/SB0136.html

Open Democracy is a Concord, NH-based nonpartisan organization that works for transparent and accountable governance in the Granite State. Learn more at www.OpenDemocracy.me.

Open Democracy Report Show How Much Kinder Morgan Has Spent Lobbying To Build NED Pipeline

As NED Pipeline Fight Heats Up, Report Finds Kinder Morgan Spent Millions of Dollars on Lobbying and Political Donations Since 2014

MANCHESTER, NH – Texas-based energy giant Kinder Morgan has spent over $2.5 million in lobbying and campaign donations since 2014, even as it is seeking approval for a controversial new natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New Hampshire and Massachusetts, according to a new analysis of lobbying and campaign finance records by the nonpartisan organization Open Democracy. 

The analysis finds that Kinder Morgan Inc. and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP began lobbying in New Hampshire and Massachusetts concurrent with the introduction of its Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline proposal in each state. The company spent $53,500 to lobby New Hampshire state government officials in 2014 and an estimated $70,780 in 2015, more than any single public interest, non-profit, or labor organization. 

Fig. 1: Kinder Morgan Lobbying Expenditures in NH and MA since 2011 (2015 data incomplete)  Figure 1

The company also spent $148,500 to lobby Massachusetts officials in 2014 and $301,334 in 2015, prior to year-end disclosures. No lobbying expenditures were reported in New Hampshire prior to 2014 when the proposed pipeline route was changed to include seventeen southern NH towns. Kinder Morgan reported $20,000 and $60,000 in Massachusetts state lobbying in 2012 and 2013, respectively. 

Analysis of federal lobbying expenditures finds several Kinder Morgan companies including Kinder Morgan, Inc., Kinder Morgan Co2, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, and Kinder Morgan Bulk Terminals have engaged in extensive lobbying activities over the last twelve years. Kinder Morgan reported spending $170,000 to-date in 2015, including $110,000 specifically targeted at the NED pipeline proposal which is pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The five-member commission of presidential appointees is expected to approve or reject the proposal next year.

In addition to its reported federal and state lobbying activities in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and other states, Kinder Morgan executives have made significant campaign contributions in recent years, according to the Open Democracy analysis. At least ten Kinder Morgan employees made state and federal campaign contributions totaling more than $3 million in 2014-16. Company Chairman Richard Kinder and his wife Nancy accounted for the bulk of the contributions, giving $2 million to the Right to Rise Super PAC supporting presidential candidate Jeb Bush. 

Texas Senator Ted Cruz received $11,400 in campaign contributions from Kinder Morgan employees to his 2012 Senate campaign and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received a $1,000 contribution in 2015. Former House Speaker John Boehner received $90,200 in campaign contributions. 

Fig. 2: Kinder Morgan Contributions to 2016 Presidential Candidates 

Candidate

Amount

Year

Jeb Bush

$2,205,829

2015

Hillary Clinton

$1,000

2015

Ted Cruz*

$11,400

2012

TOTAL

$2,218,229

 

At the state level, NH Governor Maggie Hassan and MA Governor Charlie Baker received $2,000 and $1,000 in campaign contributions, respectively, from Richard and Nancy Kinder in 2014. 

All told, the analysis found $397,950 in federal and $557,000 in state campaign contributions from Kinder Morgan executives in 2014, and at least $2,211,269 in contributions to 2016 federal campaigns to-date. Analysis of campaign contributions over time finds a total of estimated $5.3 million since 2000, 87 percent of which was given to Republicans (2014-16 partisan contributions breakdown is estimated).

Fig. 3: Kinder Morgan Contributions to State and Federal Candidates and Super PACs, 2000-2015

Year

Total Amount

Republican

Democrat

2000

$329,388

97%

3%

2002

$315,996

99%

1%

2004

$375,562

96%

1%

2006

$126,061

82%

18%

2008

$152,555

63%

36%

2010

$433,849

61%

38%

2012

$389,110

97%

1%

2014

$982,689

92%

3%

2016

$2,211,269

99%

1%

TOTAL

$5,316,479

87%

11%


 

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Open Democracy is a Concord, NH-based nonpartisan organization that works for transparent and accountable governance in the Granite State. Learn more at www.OpenDemocracy.me

Bipartisan Leaders Call on NH House to End Endless Spending in Elections

House committee votes Tuesday on whether to make NH 17th state to call for a Constitutional Amendment overturning Citizens United

Concord, NH – A group of New Hampshire leaders from both political parties is calling on state lawmakers to put an end to endless spending by billionaires and special interest groups in elections, a practice it believes is undermining American democracy. 

The Open Democracy Advisors support a comprehensive campaign finance reform agenda that includes repealing the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, full disclosure of secret outside spending, and small-donor citizen funded elections. One part of that agenda, a bill instructing Congress to overturn Citizens United, is scheduled for a committee vote in the NH House on Tuesday. 

Citizens United has been an all-out disaster for democracy,” said Betty Tamposi, former Assistant Secretary of State under President Bush and an Open Democracy Advisor. “We teach our kids that the size of your wallet shouldn’t determine your standing as a citizen, but thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court and an intransigent Congress, the opposite is true today. We call on our state representatives to instruct Congress to overturn Citizens United by passing SB 136.”

“There is nothing more destructive of good politics and good policy than secret special interest money in elections,” added John Broderick, the former Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court and an Open Democracy Advisor. “Left unchecked, it will consume our electoral process and silence the voice of the people.”

On Tuesday, the House Legislative Administration Committee will hold a long-anticipated vote on SB 136, the bipartisan bill to study the effects of Citizens United on New Hampshire elections and weigh the various constitutional amendments proposed in Congress. The bill clearly states “the need for a U.S. Constitutional Amendment to address the Citizens United ruling and related cases, that protects New Hampshire’s ability to make its own laws regarding campaign finance while protecting the First Amendment.” In March, the State Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent.

Tamposi, Broderick, and ten other New Hampshire leaders from across the political spectrum are part of Open Democracy, the nonpartisan nonprofit founded by legendary reformer Doris “Granny D” Haddock in 2009. Open Democracy and allied groups have campaigned actively to translate public anger over money-in-politics corruption into positive action for reform, with a special focus on the 2016 presidential primary currently under way. As a result of their efforts, 69 New Hampshire towns have passed warrant articles at town meeting calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and some 12,000 Granite Staters have echoed the call through petitions. 

WHEN: Tuesday, October 13 at 9:30am (vote scheduled for 10:30am)

WHERE: Legislative Office Building, Room 104

In January 2014 and 2015, hundreds of concerned citizens marched over 200 miles in frigid temperatures across the state to protest big money corruption as part of Open Democracy’s NH Rebellion campaign. The Rebellion has led more than a dozen walks and logged 30,000 miles throughout New Hampshire since 2014, with an eye to making money in politics reform the leading issue in the upcoming presidential election. Over 500 citizens rebels have volunteered to question the presidential candidates about reform; the resulting candidate statements and videos are publicly available at www.Questionr.us

The reforms backed by Open Democracy enjoy widespread public support across the aisle, according to numerous polls. The latest October 2015 Bloomberg poll found that 78 percent of Americans and 80 percent of Republicans want to overturn Citizens United, while only 17 percent support for the ruling.

“This is not a liberal issue or a conservative issue – it’s an American issue,” said Dan Weeks, executive director of Open Democracy and leader of the NH Rebellion. “We are not simply asking our elected representatives to vote for SB 136; we are demanding that they heed their constituents’ demands and restore equal citizenship for all.”

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