CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Republican Bryant “Corky” Messner declined to sign a “Clean Elections Agreement” offered by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on Thursday in an attempt to discourage outside spending by “dark money” groups.
Shaheen, a Democrat seeking a third term, sent a letter to Messner outlining the agreement, which includes a provision targeting nonprofit groups that don’t have to disclose their donors, commonly referred to as “dark money.” She wants Messner to agree to donate 50% of the cost of any outside ads run in his favor to a charity agreed upon by both candidates.
Under her proposal, the campaigns also would agree to reject assistance from foreign adversaries and avoid any illegal tactics to influence voter turnout. In 2002, the year Shaheen lost to Republican John E. Sununu, Republicans arranged hang-up calls that jammed get-out-the-vote phone lines set up by Democrats on Election Day. Last month, the attorney general’s office said an absentee ballot application distributed by the New Hampshire Republican Party violated state election law.
“If dark money groups can sink millions of dollars into our elections to push their own agendas, and succeed, our democracy is threatened. If Granite Staters lose out on the opportunity to vote because they are victimized by illegal campaign tactics, our democracy is threatened. If foreign adversaries can dictate the winner of our elections, or even provide undo influence, our democracy is threatened,” Shaheen wrote. “We must stand up and protect it.”
Messner’s campaign spokesperson, Mike Biundo, dismissed the agreement as a stunt and said his candidate will focus on the issues.
“Corky Messner believes in clean campaigns that are fought on the issues that are important to Granite Staters. For over a year now, career politician Jeanne Shaheen and her friends in Washington have been doing everything they can to tear Corky Messner down,” he said in a statement. “The fact that they are resurrecting a longtime Democrat campaign tactic in the form of a ‘clean election’ agreement is laughable and nothing more than typical D.C. political speak.”
This story has been corrected to show Shaheen lost to John E. Sununu in 2002, not 2006.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.