Federal investigators relied in part on statements from relatives of Congressman Frank Guinta to conclude that he used illegal donations to fund his 2010 campaign, according to recently released reports.
The donations are at the center of a Federal Election Commission investigation into how Guinta, a Republican, financed his 2010 campaign. Guinta's parents wrote checks totaling $355,000, which Guinta used to cover campaign costs. Contributions of that amount would violate federal campaign-giving limits. Guinta has claimed that he had a legal claim on the money, as it included deposits he made over the years to a shared family account which he and other family members could draw from.
But recently released FEC reports state that Guinta’s mother, Virginia Guinta, recorded the contributions as “loans” on the check memo line, indicating the money was intended to be paid back. Guinta’s mother also told the FEC that ownership of money in the account “was fungible, not certain.”
In addition, Guinta’s sister told FEC investigators she was unaware of any jointly-held family account to which she or her siblings had a legal right.
The report also says that Guinta relied on loans over the years from his parents to cover credit card bills, mortgage payments, and his earlier mayoral campaigns in Manchester.
The FEC announced last month it reached an agreement with Guinta on the donations. Guinta agreed to pay that money back, plus a $15,000 fine.
Several high-ranking New Hampshire Republicans, including Senator Kelly Ayotte, have called on Guinta to resign because of the FEC’s findings. Guinta says he plans to run for re-election in 2016.
In a statement yesterday, Guinta said, “As I have maintained for the last five years, I made a mistake and for that I apologize. Going forward, I will continue to operate in the same bipartisan and proactive manner Granite Staters sent me to Washington to work on behalf of them.”
First General Counsel's Report:
Second General Counsel's report: