- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Russian vodka may soon vanish from liquor stores in New Hampshire pending the outcome of legislation proposed Monday by the state Senate’s top Democrat.

A bill offered by State Sen. Jeff Woodburn of Whitefield would begin where a U.S. government report left off last week and take action against Russia over its interference in the 2016 White House race.

If passed, LSR 932 would establish a bipartisan commission tasked with developing ways for the Granite State to get back at Moscow for meddling in the recent U.S. presidential election.

For starters, its author says the commission should specifically take a shot at Russian liquor by restricting its presence from state-controlled stores.

“The uncontested conclusion by the U.S. intelligence community of Russian interference in our elections requires a response at the local, state and federal levels,” the state Senate minority leader said in a statement.

“Given this confirmed interference in our elections, New Hampshire shouldn’t just continue a ‘business as usual’ relationship with Russia. As filed, this legislation allows us to look at how our state can best respond to this unprecedented attack on our democracy and how any response will affect our state.”

His bill, as written, said a proposed commission would have to consider if and how to “respond to Russian interference in our democracy,” beginning by possibly suspending the New Hampshire Liquor Commission’s purchase of Russian-made liquor.

The proposal also calls on the commission to consider divesting the state’s retirement system from any Russian-based assets, in addition to potentially stripping around 79 shops from their right to acquire Russian liquor, the Union Leader reported.

“Do you send hard-earned dollars to someone who’s trying to undermine your democracy?” he told the New Hampshire Union Leader in an interview Monday. “Your dollars should follow your ideals.”

Speaking to the newspaper Monday, Mr. Woodburn said he didn’t know if the state’s pension plan has investments in Russia, nor the amount of Russian liquor sold locally.

The declassified version of a report released Friday by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence said government experts concluded with “high confidence” that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” notwithstanding the Kremlin’s consistent denial. The Obama administration has publicly responded by implementing new sanctions against Moscow and expelling dozens of diplomats.

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