By Grant Bosse | New Hampshire Watchdog
CONCORD — Criticizing members of the New Hampshire Legislature would trigger stiff new reporting requirements, but praising incumbents or attacking their opponents would be free from state oversight, under an amendment to be considered Wednesday by the New Hampshire Senate.
The Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee unanimously approved an amendment to HB 1704 that changes campaign finance limits for New Hampshire candidates, and adds a new section requiring groups that criticize sitting senators and state representatives to register with the state within 24 hours.
“Any political committee whose spending on distribution of information critical of a member of the general court who has not filed for office, in aggregate, exceeds $500 shall file an itemized statement with the secretary of state not later than 24 hours after such spending, and thereafter each time a further $500 is spent,” according to the proposal.
New Hampshire law requires candidates and political committees to file campaign donation and expense reports, but only in the summer and fall of an election year. Independent political communications not expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate are not covered.
The new section would impose much stiffer reporting requirements on anyone critical of members of the State House or Senate, but would not require any disclosure from groups praising incumbents, criticizing political challengers, or attacking the governor or Executive Council.
The amendment also would impose penalties on those who fail to report their expenditures within 24 hours of up to 25 percent of the amount of spent criticizing incumbents.
Read the entire story at New Hampshire Watchdog.