Judge Affirms Sununu's Power To Spend CARES Act Funds Without Legislative Oversight | New Hampshire Public Radio

Judge Affirms Sununu's Power To Spend CARES Act Funds Without Legislative Oversight

Oct 14, 2020

Gov. Chris Sununu, R-N.H.
Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A Superior Court judge has affirmed Gov. Chris Sununu's power to spend $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus relief aid without legislative oversight.

In his ruling Tuesday, Judge David Anderson wrote that the governor was not seeking authority to unilaterally spend money from the state treasury, rather he is claiming authority to spend money received through an act of Congress.

Sign up for NHPR's Rundown newsletter for more New Hampshire news.

Anderson says state laws "deliberately authorized the governor to accept and spend federal funds made available for purposes of emergency management.”

Therefore, Sununu's spending of CARES Act funds is legal.

Top Democratic lawmakers had argued that the Legislature's joint fiscal committee always retains oversight of a governor's spending decisions -- even during an emergency, regardless of the money's source.

In a statement, the Democratic plaintiffs said they respectfully disagreed with the ruling.

Sununu, meanwhile, said he was thankful. But also said it was "unfortunate so many state resources were wasted defending this failed lawsuit by Democrat leadership.”