Campaign Updates

February 12, 2016 Press Release

RELEASE: Governor Hassan Signs Strengthened New Hampshire People’s Pledge

Strengthened Pledge Includes $15 Million Spending Cap For Each Campaign

CONCORD – Continuing her commitment to meaningful campaign finance reform to ensure that money does not control politics in New Hampshire, Governor Hassan today signed a strengthened New Hampshire People’s Pledge.

New Hampshire has a strong tradition of voluntary campaign spending caps – and accompanying penalties – that is written into state law (see RSA 664:5-a, b and RSA 664:21), and the strengthened New Hampshire People’s Pledge continues this tradition by committing each campaign to a $15 million spending cap. The $15 million cap represents a reduction in campaign spending from the highest spending New Hampshire Senate campaign in 2014.

Despite the fact that $5 million in outside spending has already benefited Senator Ayotte this cycle, Governor Hassan made clear that she wants the campaigns to work together to reach an agreement on a strengthened pledge.

In a letter to Senator Ayotte (full letter available here and full strengthened pledge below), Governor Hassan wrote:

Granite Staters know that it’s not just the outside spending, but the amount of spending on campaigns that should be reined in. We would be happy to meet with you or your campaign to discuss this proposal further and find a way to move forward on this pledge together.”

 “This campaign should be about how we can keep New Hampshire moving in the right direction by bringing people together to help hard-working Granite Staters get ahead and stay ahead. I hope that you will join me and that we can lead the way with this groundbreaking agreement to curb campaign spending.”

In addition to adding a $15 million spending cap for each campaign, the strengthened New Hampshire People’s Pledge also restores the preamble of the 2012 pledge from which the language of Senator Ayotte’s proposal was drawn. The preamble clarifies the purpose of the pledge – including the intent to exclude dark money “issue advertisements” – while adding a new commitment to ensuring that money does not control politics in New Hampshire.

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2016 New Hampshire People’s Pledge

Because outside third party organizations—including but not limited to individuals, corporations, 527 organizations, 501(c) organizations, SuperPACs, and national and state party committees—are airing, and will continue to air, independent expenditure advertisements and issue advertisements either supporting or attacking Governor Maggie Hassan or Senator Kelly Ayotte (individually the “Candidate” and collectively the “Candidates”); and

Because these groups function as independent expenditure organizations that are outside the direct control of either of the Candidates; and

Because the Candidates agree that they do not approve of such independent expenditure advertisements, and want those advertisements to immediately cease and desist for the duration of the 2016 election cycle; and

Because the Candidates agree that we must take action to limit the role of money in New Hampshire’s politics; and

Because the Candidates recognize that in order to make New Hampshire a national example, and provide the citizens of New Hampshire with an election free of third party independent expenditure advertisements that ensures that money does not control our politics, they must be willing to include an enforcement mechanism that runs not to the third party organizations but to the Candidates’ own campaigns:

The Candidates on behalf of their respective campaigns hereby agree to the following:

  • In the event that a third party organization airs any independent expenditure broadcast (including radio), cable, satellite, or online advertising in support of a named, referenced (including by title) or otherwise identified Candidate, that Candidate’s campaign shall, within three (3) days of discovery of the advertisement buy’s total cost, duration, and source, pay 50% of the cost of that advertising buy to a charity of the opposing Candidate’s choice.
  • In the event that a third party organization airs any independent expenditure broadcast (including radio), cable, satellite, or online advertising in opposition to a named, referenced (including by title) or otherwise identified Candidate, the opposing Candidate’s campaign shall, within three (3) days of discovery of the advertisement buy’s total cost, duration, and source, pay 50% of the cost of that advertising buy to a charity of the opposed Candidate’s choice.
  • In the event that a third party organization airs any broadcast (including radio), cable, or satellite advertising that promotes or supports a named, referenced (including by title) or otherwise identified Candidate, that Candidate’s campaign shall, within three (3) days of discovery of the advertisement buy’s total cost, duration, and source, pay 50% of the cost of that advertising buy to a charity of the opposing Candidate’s choice.
  • In the event that a third party organization airs any broadcast (including radio), cable, or satellite advertising that attacks or opposes a named, referenced (including by title) or otherwise identified Candidate, the opposing Candidate’s campaign shall, within three (3) days of discovery of the advertisement buy’s total cost, duration, and source, pay 50% of the cost of that advertising buy to a charity of the opposed Candidate’s choice.

  • The Candidates and their campaigns agree that neither they nor anyone acting on their behalf shall coordinate with any third party on any paid advertising for the duration of the 2016 election cycle. In the event that either Candidate or their campaign or anyone acting on their behalf coordinates any paid advertisement with a third party organization that Candidate’s campaign shall pay 50% of the cost of the ad buy to a charity of the opposing Candidate’s choice.
  • In the spirit of New Hampshire’s voluntary state campaign spending caps, the Candidates and their campaigns agree to an overall expenditure and campaign debt limit of $15 million for each campaign for the full 2016 election cycle for U.S. Senate candidates (as defined on the Federal Election Commission website). In the event that either Candidate or their campaign makes expenditures in excess of $15 million or has campaign debt when aggregated with expenditures in excess of $15 million, that Candidate’s campaign shall also pay an amount equal to 50% of the excess expenditures/debt to a charity of the opposing Candidate’s choice within 3 days. To ensure compliance with this agreement, beginning October 1, 2016, each campaign shall post on a weekly basis, on their public website, the total expenditures and debt covered by this agreement.
  • The Candidates and their campaigns agree to continue to work together to limit the influence of third party advertisements and to close any loopholes (including coverage of sham ads) that arise in this agreement during the course of the campaign.