‘Granny D’ fight heads to D.C.

Last modified: 4/2/2015 9:58:06 AM
New Hampshire legislators are bringing the late Doris “Granny D” Haddock of Dublin’s fight for campaign finance reform to Washington, D.C.

The N.H. Senate approved Senate Bill 136 Thursday. The bill demands Congress form a committee to address how the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court affects campaign spending, particularly in New Hampshire.

Daniel Weeks, a Temple native and Executive Director of Open Democracy, wasn’t merely proud that New Hampshire’s 24 state senators reached across party lines to unanimously approve this legislation — he praised the people of New Hampshire as well. “I believe this has a lot to do with the thousands following in Granny D’s footsteps — walking across New Hampshire, testifying and rallying at the State House, and calling their elected representatives,” Weeks said Friday. “That’s how democracy is supposed to work.”

Weeks said Granny D inspired him to start advocating for campaign finance reform when he was a ConVal High School student. The bill, in addition to demanding Congress form a committee, asks legislators to examine the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling on New Hampshire elections, and examine short-term solutions.

The Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission said the First Amendment allows corporations to spend unlimited sums to electioneer for or against a candidate.

Congress must recognize the need for an amendment “that protects New Hampshire’s ability to make its own laws regarding campaign finance while protecting the First Amendment,” the bill states. The Congressional committee must reports its findings to New Hampshire politicians by November.

Mary Loftis of Dublin was pleased with the Senate. “It makes me feel very proud,” she said. Loftis introduced a petition article at Dublin’s 2014 Town Meeting which demanded Congress overrule the Citizens United ruling. She said the Supreme Court handed down its decision just before Granny D passed away. “In a sense, it is a vindication of her efforts. The issue hasn’t faded away.”

Rep. Frank Sterling (R-Jaffrey) said Monday he hadn’t yet familiarized himself with the Senate bill, but he is opposed to a constitutional amendment that would limit his ability to contribute to a candidate he supports.

Rep. Dick Ames (D-Jaffrey) said Monday campaign finance reform in New Hampshire is also under the purview of Congress. “It affects everybody,” he said, adding it impacts all his constituents too.

Benji Rosen can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228, or brosen@ledgertranscript.com. Follow him on Twitter @Benji_Rosen.

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