Casey McDermott

Investigative & Data Reporter/Editor

Credit John W. Hession

Casey McDermott covers politics and policy, with a focus on data and accountability reporting.

Prior to joining NHPR, Casey worked at The Concord Monitor and held internships at ProPublica, the Student Press Law Center and the Chronicle of Higher Education. 

She studied journalism and sociology at Penn State but spent most of her days (and nights) in the newsroom of the independent student newspaper, The Daily Collegian. The Collegian was recognized nationally for its work during Casey's time as its managing editor and editor-in-chief.

Josh Rogers, NHPR

A State House ethics panel says a top House Democrat violated ethics guidelines by testifying and voting on several pieces of legislation that directly intersected with his position as the paid president of a statewide teachers union. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

If you're a New Hampshire voter who plans to participate in the 2020 presidential primary, you’ll want to double check your party registration this week. This Friday, Oct. 25, is the last day to make any changes to your party registration before the election. 

Legislative Ethics Committee website

New Hampshire lags behind many other states when it comes to making information about lawmakers' financial interests accessible to the public. But its disclosure system is slated to soon move into the digital era — perhaps in time for lawmakers to file electronically for the 2020 legislative session.

Josh Rogers, NHPR

The Legislative Ethics Committee is still weighing how to proceed on a complaint involving one of the top-ranking Democrats at the New Hampshire State House, four months after it first began a “preliminary investigation” into the matter.

Courtesy of the Nadig Family Archive

If you follow New Hampshire politics, you’re probably familiar with the ritual of the midnight vote, where a handful of tiny, mostly rural towns stay up late to cast their ballots as soon as election day dawns.

And you would be forgiven for thinking all the credit for this tradition goes to Neil Tillotson, the bespectacled businessman who was so well known as the face of Dixville Notch’s nocturnal vote that he’s honored with his very own bobblehead at the New Hampshire Historical Society gift shop, complete with a ballot box and all.

State offices that oversee elections and motor vehicle laws have declined to explain what implications, if any, New Hampshire’s new residency standards would have on licensing requirements. That’s despite growing confusion over whether the law could require voters to obtain in-state drivers licenses after casting a ballot.   

While the state has not said definitively that people who vote in New Hampshire would have to get a New Hampshire drivers license under the new law, there are ways to measure how many people could be affected if this turns out to be the case.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

New Hampshire is heading into a busy election season, with municipal contests in November, and the first-in-the-nation presidential primary not far behind. This is the first election season since a new law went into effect that redefined the state’s residency standards.

Supporters have said that the law would bring clarity to New Hampshire’s voting rules, but it’s facing a court challenge from the ACLU and the New Hampshire Democratic Party, who say it will discourage otherwise qualified people from voting.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Almost all of the Democrats running for president will appear at the state party's convention in Manchester this weekend. But long before many of the candidates started showing up at conventions, cookouts and coffee shops, they’ve been steering money toward local Democratic committees and campaigns here in New Hampshire.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

For Democrats looking to court grassroots progressive supporters in New Hampshire, few speaking slots are as coveted as the New Hampshire AFL-CIO’s annual Labor Day breakfast.

Ali Oshinskie / NHPR

A federal lawsuit challenging New Hampshire's new voter residency law will move forward toward a likely January 2020 trial, after state attorneys failed to convince a judge that it should be thrown out because it would not change any voting requirements. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

They can be found shuffling across North State Street on days when the legislative calendar is packed with public hearings. You see them taking notes from the Senate balcony during floor votes, and chatting with lawmakers in the hallways throughout the capitol.

Lobbyists have long been part of the fabric of the New Hampshire State House, helping shape everything from the state budget to the finer points of agritourism policy. But their influence is often hard to measure.

It can be hard to keep track of the details on lobbying spending in New Hampshire. We want to help.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

When they were knocking on doors in Manchester’s Ward 4 ahead of last fall's elections, Reps. Nicole Klein-Knight and Donald Bouchard kept hearing from people who claimed they were ineligible to vote because of past criminal records.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Rep. Joe Alexander, a first-term Republican from Goffstown, used to think he was “an expert on time management.”

“Then,” he said, “I joined the Legislature.” 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The Legislative Ethics Committee voted on Monday to pursue a preliminary investigation into a complaint against New Hampshire House Majority Leader Doug Ley, a Democrat from Jaffrey who also leads one of the state’s largest teachers unions.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

June is Pride Month, supporting the LGBTQ community, and communities across New Hampshire are holding events to celebrate. Listen here for an audio postcard from Manchester's Queen City Pride Block Party this weekend.

Josh Rogers, NHPR

House Majority Leader Doug Ley is adamant that he hasn’t broken any ethics rules by engaging in legislative advocacy as president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Federation of Teachers while serving in the Legislature.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Last year, New Hampshire House leadership had trouble getting state representatives to even acknowledge the institution’s anti-harassment policies — let alone attend training on the issue

But on Wednesday, about 100 legislators – or a quarter of the 400-member House of Representatives – showed up for just such a training session developed by the Council of State Governments and designed specifically for members of the New Hampshire legislature.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's Legislative Ethics Committee is reviewing a complaint against House Majority Leader Doug Ley, which alleges he violated ethics guidelines by testifying and voting on legislation that could affect the teachers union that employs him as its president.

New Hampshire is home to the largest citizen legislature in the country — 424 members in all. And it's built around the idea that citizens who serve will bring their everyday experiences to their roles as elected officials.

As a result, it's not unusual to see landlords sponsoring bills on evictions, retirees voting on changes to the state retirement system or business owners setting the rates for the very same business taxes they pay.

New Hampshire Campaign Finance System

Candidates running for office in New Hampshire can run up a tab on all kinds of expenses: lawn signs, postage, snacks for fundraisers, radio ads, print ads, digital ads and more.

But some lawmakers lean on campaign donations to cover other, less obvious expenses that pile up on the campaign trail, or even while they’re in office: things like car repairs, dry cleaning bills and floral arrangements.

When faced with questions earlier this year about the thousands of dollars paid out from his inaugural committee to his sister and top political advisor, Gov. Chris Sununu’s team said those payments followed state and federal regulations, and “the organization’s bylaws and conflict of interest policy.”

But when NHPR asked to see those bylaws and conflict of interest policy, Sununu’s team declined.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Richard Lobban was among the roughly 50 people who packed inside the Rockingham County Democrats Regional Office in Londonderry to hear Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren make her presidential campaign pitch Saturday night.

Lobban said he was — like a lot of his fellow New Hampshire Democrats — still very much untethered to any of the 18 declared candidates in the race for the 2020 presidential nomination.

Legislative Ethics Committee website

Back in February, New Hampshire’s Legislative Ethics Committee started its first, and thus far only, meeting of the year with cause for celebration: For the first time since anyone on the committee could remember, all 424 legislators submitted their mandatory financial disclosure forms on time.

But making a deadline is only one part of the equation when it comes to New Hampshire’s financial disclosure process. Making sure that paperwork is filled out correctly and completely — that’s quite another.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers only get paid $100 a year — not exactly enough to feed a family — so it’s no surprise that many of them rely on other sources of income to get by.

As a result, state lawmakers end up dealing with all kinds of proposals that can directly impact their family finances, the taxes they pay, the companies where they work, or the boards on which they serve.

NHPR

Republicans may be in the minority at the State House this year, but they have one important advantage when it comes to blocking Democratic-backed bills: Governor Chris Sununu and, specifically, his veto pen.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu’s proposed state budget includes a plan to steer roughly $168 million in surplus state money to dozens of one-time projects, ranging from new traffic lights to park upgrades to grants for a handful of nonprofits.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Local lobbying firms and major corporations make up most of the most recent donations to Governor Chris Sununu's inaugural fund, according to the committee’s latest fundraising report.

The Sununu Inaugural Committee raised more than $250,000 since the governor's re-election last November. More than $160,000 of that haul came from corporations and PACs.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

Battles over ballot access have been raging for decades at the New Hampshire State House, and this year is no exception.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Senate Democrats are leading an effort to change how complaints of harassment and discrimination involving lawmakers are addressed in the State House, by establishing a new human resources officer who would be responsible for investigating those allegations.

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