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PNS Daily Newscast -May 25, 2017 


In focus on our nationwide rundown; a GOP candidate spends final night of his campaign allegedly “body slamming" a reporter; the CBO numbers are out and the latest version of the AHCA ends health coverage for 23 million Americans; and we take you to a township that aims to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Daily Newscasts

Money in Politics: What Counts in Trump White House and Granite State?

Word that big corporations may be "paying to play" through their donation dollars to cover inauguration expenses raises new concerns about money in politics. (NH Rebellion)
Word that big corporations may be "paying to play" through their donation dollars to cover inauguration expenses raises new concerns about money in politics. (NH Rebellion)
April 26, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. - From questions about Dow Chemical's attempts to convince the Trump administration to drop pesticide studies about its products to a lawsuit involving the president's "Mar-a-Lago" resort, critics cite both as reasons to get money out of politics.

In a series of leaked letters, Dow executives asked Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt to withdraw recent evaluations that show three of its pesticides are likely to harm 97 percent of threatened or endangered species. Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said Dow contributed $1 million to President Trump's inauguration, and Trump named Dow chief executive Andrew Liveris to lead the American Manufacturing Council.

"Given Dow's very close relationship with Trump, it's not surprising that this is happening," Hartl said, "but obviously very frustrating and very alarming."

Public-interest advocates in New Hampshire say similar questions are being raised about donors to the inauguration of Gov. Chris Sununu. That's why they're pushing for greater transparency into political donors and contribution amounts, both at the state and national level.

Olivia Zink, executive director of New Hampshire Rebellion, said it was no coincidence when one of the major contributors to Sununu's inauguration costs turned out to be Eversource, a company that is seeking favorable action on the controversial Northern Pass energy-transmission project.

"But Eversource cares about a lot of different policies, not just Northern Pass," Zink said, "and no matter what side of the aisle you're on, this 'donate-to-political-campaign-and-get-policy-outcome-you-want' - and this is why we need to change that culture."

Sununu has said he supports Northern Pass. Zink noted that Senate Bill 33 is pending in the New Hampshire Legislature. It would close a loophole that allows independent groups to avoid registering with the Secretary of State and filing expenditure reports.

The watchdog group Common Cause filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the U.S. State Department for online activity that it sees as promoting Trump's Florida resort and private club.

The text of SB 33 is online at gencourt.state.nh.us. The leaked letters are at biologicaldiversity.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH