CONCORD - New Hampshire campaign finance laws have an interesting relationship with corporations, the Granite State has a system where by simply incorporating a corporation an individual can double the limit of what they are able to donate to a candidate for state office. While an individual can only donate $7,000 to a candidate combining $5,000 for donations before the candidate files, another $1,000 before the primary, and another $1,000 for the general election, but each corporation an individual oversees can donate another $7,000.
Following a slew of examples of pop up LLCs in the 2016 gubernatorial election on both sides, which included one individual who donated $13,000 in one day on behalf of 13 LLCs, Senate Democrats proposed SB 115 that would have closed the campaign finance loophole and truly held individuals to the limits set out by our campaign finance laws. When fundraising capability directly impacts how well a candidate can get their message out, a single wealthy individual contributing 13 times what should be their legal limit is granted a much louder voice than others in what should be an equal and fair electoral process.
Republican nominees, especially for Governor thrive on this increased ability to take cash from corporate special interests. In 2012 Kevin Smith ran a third of his campaign off of funds from 17 Dunkin Donuts franchises that all operated out of one Massachusetts addresse. Sununu isn’t much better, in 2016 he received donations from 17 companies that operate with similar names that can be traced back to one manager. It is hard to push for campaign finance reform when Republican candidates fund large chunks of their campaigns from individuals operating multiple LLCs.
For our campaign finance rules to be effective everyone should be forced to play by the same rules. One individual should not be able to gain political favor just by the number of LLCs they are able to incorporate before Election Day. We need to keep special interests out of our politics and focus on the people our elected officials represent. Senate Democrats believe in a political system where the voters have the strong and equal voices, not a system that caters to wealthy individuals and their multiple LLCs.