N.H. Senate Moves To Tighten Rules For Inaugural Committees

Mar 7, 2019

Governor Chris Sununu celebrates his victory on election night in November, 2018.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown for NHPR

In a 22-2 vote, the New Hampshire Senate approved a bill Thursday to tighten rules for committees that cover inaugural expenses.

The call for new standards comes after Governor Sununu's inaugural committee paid out thousands to his family and top political advisor. 

Click here for NHPR's previous coverage of that story.

Sununu was the first New Hampshire governor forced to disclose the receipts and spending of his inaugural committee. Those show about a quarter of the more than $400,000 the committee raised through late last year - much of it from lobbyists and corporations - was paid out to the committee's own board members.

The Governor himself also collected $39,000.

This bill would cap individual contributions to inaugural committees at $10,000, and require gross payments in excess of $1,000 to a Governor-elect or their family to be detailed with receipts.

Democratic Senator Dan Feltes led the push for the new standards.

"It's a good bipartisan, 22-2 vote in response to the payouts to the governor to his family and friends, and making sure we instill transparency and public confidence to the system." 

Sununu has said his committee followed the law on inaugural fundraising, and in the future that he'll meet any standard lawmakers choose to set.

This was echoed in a statement issued by Sununu's office after the vote.

“As our office has long stated, we have been ready and willing to work with the legislature to enact practical and fair updates to the statute," the statement read.